TULSA, Okla. – The Missouri Mavericks scored early – and late – to claim a big 5-3 victory over the Tulsa Oilers Friday night at the BOK Center.
The Oilers drew first blood on a goal by Adam Pleskach just 3:20 into the opening period, but the Mavericks scored four straight goals – by Andrew Courtney, Colt King, Anders Franzon and Rob Kleebaum – to take a 4-1 lead into the second 20-minute period.
“A huge first period,” Mavericks coach Scott Hillman said by phone after his team improved to 22-10-1. “We set the offensive tone early and held them to very few shots (20) on the night, which was big for Erno Suomalainen, who was starting just his second game in goal.
“This was a big win because it's the start of three games in three days at three different sites. With Erno in goal, we have our starter rested for two big games against Wichita at our place Saturday and their place Sunday.”
The Mavericks’ first goal came from Courtney on a power play at 5:32.
“Courtney's power play goal was huge,” Hillman said. “He fired in a rebound from (Mike) Ramsay and that tied the score.
“Then Kinger did basically the same thing, taking care of a loose puck in front of the net to give us a 2-1 lead. Franzon's goal was unassisted and then Kleebaum gets the fourth goal of the period – huge, just huge.”
Tulsa’s Nathan Lutz scored in the second period to cut the Mavs lead by half (4-2), and that was the score heading into the decisive third period.
With less than 2 minutes left, the Oilers pulled goaltender Shane Madolora in favor of a sixth attacker and the strategy worked once as Blair Macaulay scored at 18:53 to make it a 4-3 game.
Then, with just five seconds left in the game, John-Scott Dickson scored an empty-net goal to give Missouri the 5-3 victory.
“The boys scored big early goals and a big goal late,” Hillman said. “Erno did a great job in the net. We're proud of him, and our defense took good care of him most of the night.
“That's an explosive Tulsa club, and this is a great way to start the weekend. Tonight, all we were focusing on was Tulsa. Now, we can turn our attention to a Wichita team that we're 2-2-1 against this season. We need to get four more points and it all starts with a win Saturday night at home.
“We know we're going to get a lot of energy from our fans, and the boys are looking forward to getting back home and playing the Thunder in front of the best fans in the league.”