Two third period goals by Anders Strome and a tremendous performance by Brett Jaeger in net put a stop to the Oilers’ run of nine straight games earning a point. The Oilers last loss in regulation had come on November 7th, also at NYTEX.
With the win, the Brahmas improve to 8-9-3 (.475) with 19 points and remain in fifth place in the Southern Conference, just two points behind Laredo and three points behind Rio Grande Valley. The Oilers go to 12-4-1 with 25 points and the Colorado Eagles at their heels with 23 points.
It was a high octane contest for the Brahmas, fueled by emotions left over from Friday night’s 6-2 loss to Tulsa at the BOK Center. There was also a tremendous (and loud) show of support from Brahmas fans, especially the “infamous 303 Rowdies” who led the cheers, chants and heckles, targeting not only the Oilers as a whole, but individual players as well. I had a good laugh late in the game after Strome’s second goal when Joe Palmer turned around and saw (apparently for the first time), the Rowdies with their hockey sweaters removed as they celebrated. I assured Palmer that they don’t do that for every goal and although a bit shaken, I think he gets it.
The first period was about as action packed as any we’ve seen thus far this season as both teams came onto the ice energized and motivated to tally the first goal. However, with an even 11 shots and two power play opportunities each, neither side could solve each others goalie, as Brett Jaeger and Marty Magers were solid in net.
The intensity of the game did not let up as the teams skated onto the ice to begin the second period. An aggressive Brahmas attack resulted in five consecutive penalties but special teams answered the call, killing all of Tulsa’s advantages.
A Hooking call on Luke Sellars and a Cross Checking call on Ross Rouleau gave Tulsa a two man advantage eight minutes into the second frame. What should have been a great opportunity for the Oilers ended up benefiting the Brahmas when Tyler Skworchinski intercepted a pass at his own blue line and then pulled away to score an unassisted short handed goal at the 8:29 mark. With this tally, the Brahmas once again lead the league in short-handed goals with six.
Moments later, a shot by Oilers defenseman Derek Eastman thought he had a goal but officials ruled his shot as having been deflected into the Brahmas’ net by a high stick.
The Brahmas had one power play opportunity later in the period but they were shut down by the Oilers’ penalty kill. The period ended with a 10-8 shot advantage for the home team and a 1-0 lead.
The shot count in the final frame favored the Oilers (14-9) but the scoring was all about Anders Strome who had two consecutive goals, eight minutes apart to give the Brahmas a 3-0 lead.
The first score came on a play from Luke Sellars to Grant Jacobsen. Jacobsen sent the puck to Strome, who was able to beat Marty Magers to set the 2-0 lead at the 9:02 mark.
The second came off a pass from Jason Reese at the near corner. Strome fired the puck past Magers, who never had a chance. Grant Jacobsen was also credited with the assist.
It looked like Texas would earn their second shut out of the season but former Brahma Aaron Davis made sure that didn’t happen. Davis scored at the 17:36 mark with the assist coming from Sean Erickson and TJ Caig but it was too little, too late and the Brahmas sent a frustrated Oilers team back North to ponder their lack of success at NYTEX.
Somehow, there were no penalties in the final frame. Tulsa had the 33-30 shot advantage in the game.
By the way, Tulsa scoring king Rob Hisey was held to one shot and a -1 rating.
Brett Jaeger made 32 saves on 33 shots and earned the win. His record goes to 4-6-1. Marty Magers made 27 saves on 30 shots and takes the loss. His record goes to 1-1-0.
The Brahmas went 0 for 4 on the power play. Tulsa went 0 for 6. The Brahmas were assessed 12 minutes on 6 infractions; Tulsa received eight minutes on four infractions.
The 3rd Star of the game went to Tyler Skworchinski for short handed goal. The 2nd Star was awarded to Brett Jaeger for his performance in net and the 1st Star went to Anders Strome with two goals on two shots.
You can view the box score here
You can view my photos from the game here (Not edited yet)
• Elias Godoy was suited up and on the bench, but did not have any shifts (that I saw). Jason Deitsch was still in street clothes. He joined James Hiebert upstairs in one of the suites.
• Kevin McLeod started but came off the ice after minimal shifts and joined the boys in the suite. McLeod’s ear actually looks pretty good despite having a puck slice it open at Allen. He confirmed 80-100 stitches. That’s got to smart.
• This may sound like a criticism (but it’s not). How many teams’ scoring leaders are defensemen? Marv holds that distinction with 16 points (9 G, 7 A, -3).
• Brett Jaeger looked great in net (as he did in Allen). I spoke with him after the game briefly and he seemed pretty pleased with getting the win. I told him if he’s going to have a rough time, it’s better to have it now and shake it off for when times are more crucial down the stretch. OK, this probably sounds corny, but I think it would pump up our net minders if a “Jaeger, Jaeger, Jaeger! or a Palmer, Palmer, Palmer! Chant were started (with vigor) at the beginning of each home game. Just a thought. How about it Rowdies?
• Anders Strome gets his first goal(s) and points since the season opener, when he scored the game winning power play goal. Good to see. No doubt Strome will find a groove soon. He currently leads the Brahmas with a .214 shot percentage.
The Brahmas have a few days to work on power play drills amongst other things. They will host Corpus Christi on Friday night and Bossier-Shreveport on Saturday night.
Note: Corpus is 0-7-2 against the Brahmas since Dan Wildfong became head coach. Corpus Christ’s last win against the Brahmas came on Feb. 11, 2006. Makes me smile.
Photo Credit: Robert Keith