Oilers on losing end of epic 18-round shootout
CREATED Oct. 20, 2013 - UPDATED: Oct. 20, 2013
DENVER (KFAQ) - Steve Kaunisto's snap shot finally ended an 18-round shootout and dealt the Oilers a 3-2 loss at the Denver Coliseum on Saturday night. Despite the best efforts of Tulsa netminder Ross MacKinnon who stopped 15 of the 18 shooters he faced, the Oilers shooters could only muster two goals on their 18 attempts and Tulsa was forced to settle for a single point.
The Oilers, 0-1-1 on the young season, carried a 2-0 lead into the third period. Ryan Menei swatted home his first goal of the year with just half a second left in the first period. Todd Robinson's shot from the point bounced to Menei who knocked the puck past Kieran Millan to give the Oilers their first lead of the season.
Less than two minutes into the second frame, Ryan Cramer chipped a rebound past Millan and the Oilers held a 2-0 advantage. Tulsa outshot Denver 18-6 in the middle period and controlled the tempo, spending a majority of the period in the attacking zone.
The lead started to evaporate midway through the third when the Cutthroats cashed in on a two-man advantage. Troy Schwab's shot was stopped by MacKinnon but J.P. Chabot poked in the rebound to put the home side on the board. Just two minutes later, the Cutthroats found the equalizer. A.J. Gale picked up a loose puck off the face off and tucked it inside the post to pull his side even.
After five minutes of overtime decided nothing, the first shootout of the CHL season began. The first six shooters for each side were denied before Thomas Beauregard broke through for the Oilers. Cutthroats forward T.J. Fox kept his team alive by beating MacKinnon and the drama had only begun to build. Each of the next shooters for both teams missed the mark and each side was forced to send out shooters for second attempts. Ben Gordon gave the Oilers the edge in round 14 but once again, with the game on the line, the Cutthroats had the answer. Garrett Bembridge solved MacKinnon and sudden death continued. In the 18th round, following Kieran Millan's stop of Ryan Cramer, Denver defenseman Steve Kaunisto sent the Coliseum crowd home happy. It was the Cutthroats 12th chance to win the game and Kaunisto made no mistake with a quick flick over the glove of the outstanding MacKinnon.
Tulsa outshot Denver 38-27 for the game and Todd Robinson led all players with 11 shots on net. For the second straight game, Tulsa tallied on the power play while Denver registered its first power play goal of the season. The Oilers and Cutthroats will meet four more time during the regular season.
The Oilers will play their home opener on Saturday, October 26 at 7:35 p.m. against the Allen Americans.