WICHITA, Kan. — The Wichita Thunder lost 5-3 to the Tulsa Oilers at the INTRUST Bank Arena on Friday night.
Wichita's loss combined with Quad City's loss at Dayton has guaranteed them the fifth seed in the Turner Conference playoffs next week. Wichita will now face the fourth seed in the opening round, which has yet to be determined.
The Oilers claimed a 1-0 lead at 16:41 in the first when Michel Beausolei took a pass from Jack Combs and ripped a shot past the right side of Kevin Beech.
Tulsa took a 2-0 lead 41 seconds into the second period. After Beech stopped a quick shot from Anthony Battaglia, Derek Eastman slipped the rebound under Beech's left pad for the score. Kory Scoran cut the lead in half, blasting a shot from the middle point that traveled over the right shoulder of Oilers' goaltender Ian Keserich. Matt Robinson knotted the score with his 40th goal of the season at 7:16, taking a cross-crease pass from Aaron Davis and shooting under Keserich's left pad from a tough angle along the goal line. Anthony Battaglia put Tulsa back in front at 17:43 on a shot from the right circle that deflected off Beech and under the crossbar.
The Oilers ran off two more goals early in the third to break the game open. Gary Steffes shot past Beech at 2:07 while Brennan Barker connected at 5:41 to make it 5-2. Davis scored a power play goal at 7:49, tipping in Scoran's shot from the point to bring the Thunder back within two.
Beech took the loss, saving 16 of 21. Keserich earned the win, saving 35 of 38. Wichita was 1 for 2 on the power play. Tulsa was 0 for 4.
The Thunder plays at Tulsa on Saturday at 7:35 p.m.