When Tulsa’s Matt Register scored the game’s first goal midway through the first period Saturday night, thoughts of Friday’s season-opening 4-3 loss were difficult to keep away from the Thunder.
This time, though, the Thunder bounced back with eight straight goals en route to an 8-2 victory.
“Once we started breaking through, we realized as long as we play like that we are going to be tough to stop,” Thunder defender Dave Inman said. “It’s nice to rebound like that. We were all disappointed with the results from (Friday) night. We all knew we had better and everybody needed to step up and we did that tonight.”
Trailing 1-0, the Thunder made a loud and emphatic response. Gregor Hanson answered with a goal less than two minutes later, a shot that hit the top of the goal, dropped down behind the Tulsa goalie, and managed to slide into the net.
Matt Summers, who had the assist on Hanson’s goal, found RG Flath less than two minutes later for a 2-1 lead.
“You can’t get down on yourself when they score the first goal,” Hanson said. “Just keep battling. I think we earned the first goal. It didn’t matter. We came back and after that didn’t look back.”
The Thunder was brilliant in the second period. An aggressive offense scored five times with 19 shots.
Penalties proved catastrophic for the Oilers in the period. Ryan Cramer’s tripping penalty led to Summer’s power-play goal, and before the Thunder could celebrate, Tulsa had two more players in the penalty box.
The Thunder had a 5-on-3 advantage for about a minute early in the second period. It wasn’t until the advantage was back to 5 on 4 that Flath got his second goal for a 4-1 lead.
After that, the wheels really fell off for the Oilers.
“Our downfall was our first period (Friday) night. We made sure that we didn’t have a period like that tonight,” Thunder coach Kevin McClelland said. “We didn’t make those glaring errors that we made (Friday) night and that’s huge.”
The Thunder scored five goals in the third period.
“You throw a bunch of guys together and play one exhibition game and one in the regular season—sometimes it takes a little while,” McClelland said. “I still think we are going to have to make a couple of moves. That’s what you always do as a coach.”
First period — 1, Tulsa, Register (Gingera, Ofukany), 9:04. 2, Wichita, Hanson (Summers), 10:53. 3, Wichita, Flath (Summers), 12:18. Penalties — Esposito, Tulsa (fighting major), :01; Boogaard, Wichita (fighting major), :01; Ofukany, Tulsa (fighting major), :03; Donaghy, Wichita (fighting major), :03; Erickson, Tulsa (slashing), 13:37.
Second period — 4, Wichita, Summers (Flath, Hanson), 4:09 (pp). 5, Wichita, Flath (Martens, Young), 6:27 (pp). 6, Wichita, Inman (Trimm, Painchaud), 14:04. 7, Wichita, Tassone (Boyd), 17:19. 8, Wichita, Hanson (Mohr, Summers), 18:30. Penalties — Cramer, Tulsa (tripping), 2:16; Ofukany, Tula (boarding), 4:09; Beausoleil, Tulsa (cross checking), 4:54.
Third period — 9, Wichita, Mohr (Hanson, Flath). 10, Tulsa, Ofukany (Menei, Gordon). Penalty — Hanson, Wichita (goalie interference), 7:53.
Power plays — Tulsa 0 of 1, Wichita 2 of 4.
Shots — Tulsa 9-7-10—26; Wichita 12-19-6—37.
Saves — Tulsa, Keserich 27 shots, 22 saves, Bakala 10-7; Wichita, Jung 26-24.
Referee — Pater Tarnaris. Linesmen — Kevin Cassidy, Bradon Gawryletz. T — 2:32. A — 6,554.