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Tulsa Oilers clinch playoff spot

First time in three years Oiles heading to playoffs
First time in three years Oiles heading to playoffs
Tulsa Oilers

For the first time in three years, the Tulsa Oilers will be part of the Central Hockey League playoffs. Tulsa clinched the 11th postseason berth in franchise history by dismissing the St. Charles Chill 6-3 on Sunday afternoon at the BOK Center. Rookie forward Adam Pleskach led the Oilers offensive effort with two goals and an assist as Tulsa finished the season series against St. Charles with a flawless 5-0-0 record.

A power play goal from Ryan Menei broke a scoreless tie at 14:35 of the first period and the Oilers would never relinquish the lead. Tulsa scored the first goal of the game for the first time in the last nine contests. Kyle Bochek tipped in a Ryan Barlock shot at 17:54 to give Tulsa a 2-0 edge heading into the first intermission.

Britt Oullette put the visitors on the board with a snap shot at 2:31 of the second, but the Oilers wasted little time in surging back. At 8:07, Pleskach drove through the middle of the Chill zone and muscled his way through the defense before sliding the puck underneath Robby Moss to restore the Oilers two-goal cushion. Pleskach was watching from the penalty box just a minute and a half later when Ben Gordon's backhand pass connected with a wide open Michel Beausoleil. The Oilers veteran winger banged home a one-timer from close range to put Tulsa up 4-1 at the 9:33 mark of the middle frame. Beausoleil notched his 30th goal of the season, his highest goal total since the 2007-08 campaign with the Flint Generals (IHL). Ryan Berard answered for St. Charles in 18 seconds on the continuing power play and the Oilers held a 4-2 advantage going into the final 20 minutes.

On an early third period power play, Pleskach found himself on the receiving end of another perfect Gordon pass. The Tulsa center walked the puck off the wall and pushed the puck to the tape of Pleskach who tapped it past Moss to put the Oilers up 5-2 at the 1:23 mark. Chill forward TJ Moor outraced Matthew Larke for a loose puck at 13:34 and stuffed a shot through Tulsa goalie Shane Madolora to pull his team back within two goals but St. Charles would come no closer. Eric Tallent capped off the Oilers victory with another power play goal at 18:21 as an elated bunch of Oilers realized their season would extend beyond next weekend.

Pleskach recorded his seventh multi-goal game of the season while Gordon registered three assists. The Oilers outshot the Chill 40-26 and reached the 40-shot plateau for the first time since firing 41 shots on January 4 against the Denver Cutthroats. The Oilers finished 3-for-6 on the power play, just the second time all season they were able to score more than two goals on the man-advantage.

Tulsa has three games remaining and will begin the final weekend of the regular season on Friday night against the Missouri Mavericks at the Independence Events Center.