TULSA, OKLA. - The Indy Fuel's (23-24-2-1) hunt for a six-point weekend stalled at the finish line, as they were handed a 6-2 defeat by the Tulsa Oilers (23-22-3-6) Sunday afternoon at the BOK Center. Finishing a season-long seven-game road trip with a 4-3 record, Indy now heads into a string of five consecutive home games starting Tuesday at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
The Oilers seized control with six unanswered goals over the first two periods of play, led off by a natural hat trick from forward Charlie Sampair. Down just 2-1 to start the second period, the Fuel were outscored 4-0 in the middle frame, as their four game winning streak over Tulsa dating back to 2016-17 came to an end.
Coming off of a pair of victories in Kansas City on Friday and Saturday, Indy came out firing in the opening stages of Sunday's contest. Defenseman Robin Press turned the early offensive pressure into a 1-0 lead, when his shot from the right circle caromed off a Tulsa skate and behind goaltender Devin Williams.
The next three goals of the game came from the stick of Sampair, who tallied twice in the first period and again shortly after the second began to complete a natural hat trick. The Oilers later added markers from Conner Bleackley, Ryan Tesink and Kale Kessy, establishing a commanding 6-1 lead late in the middle period. Tempers boiled over to end the second, resulting in an altercation that generated two match penalties, three player ejections and 46 total minutes in penalties.
The Fuel got one goal back in the third period, when Alex Wideman snapped a wrist shot from the slot past Tulsa emergency backup goaltender Ian Keserich for his 10th goal of the year. Keserich, who played three seasons for the Oilers from 2010-2013 in the Central Hockey League, was thrust into action when Williams went down with an injury just 1:09 into the third period. The 32-year-old stopped 10 of 11 shots faced during his relief appearance - his first game action in nearly five years.
Indy starting netminder Étienne Marcoux stopped 15 of 20 shots faced before he was replaced midway through the second in favor of Matt Tomkins (15 saves). Williams was credited with the victory, turning aside 35 of 36 shots faced, including 19 saves in the first period. The Fuel outshot Tulsa by a 47-36 margin.
After spending the last two weeks on the road, Indy returns to Indiana Farmers Coliseum Tuesday for a critical game with the Cincinnati Cyclones. The Central Division showdown takes place during the Fuel's first ever Education Day Game, with puck drop coming at 10:30 a.m. (Photo courtesy of TeeJay Crawford / Tulsa Oilers)
Single game tickets are now available for the entire 2017-18 Fuel season at Indiana Farmers Coliseum! Fans can also take advantage of a wide variety of ticket plans by calling 317-925-FUEL or visiting IndyFuelHockey.com. Don't miss a second of the action during the 2017-18 season - follow the Fuel on Twitter and Instagram (@IndyFuel) and ‘Like' the Fuel on Facebook.
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