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Walleye fall in OT as Oilers even series at 2-2

Saturday, May 18th
Walleye fall in OT as Oilers even series at 2-2

TULSA, Okla. – Charlie Sampair’s goal 9:41 into overtime lifted the Tulsa Oilers to a 2-1 win over the Toledo Walleye on Friday at the BOK Center, tying the Western Conference Finals at two games apiece. 

Pat Nagle, who leads all qualified goaltenders with a 1.75 postseason goals-against average and ranks second with a 0.942 save percentage, stopped 35 shots while Devin Williams improved to 10-6 with a 39-save performance. The result means the Walleye will remain in Tulsa for Game 5 on Saturday at 8:05 p.m. EDT, before the best-of-seven series shifts back to the Huntington Center for Game 6 on Monday at 7:35 p.m.

The Walleye seized the momentum with an offensive flurry late in the opening period, and captured a 1-0 lead courtesy of Brenden Kotyk’s first goal of the 2019 Kelly Cup Playoffs presented by Smile Direct Club. Chris Crane took a pass from Ben Storm at the top of the right circle and played catch with Kotyk, which set up a slapshot from the point that changed direction in the high slot and ended up inside the right post at the 17:39 mark.

Tulsa failed to connect on each of its first three power plays, but eventually pulled even on its fourth opportunity 8:49 into the second frame. After gaining the Toledo line and dropping the puck to Adam Pleskach at the right point, Stephen Perfetto took a pass from Pleskach at the right wall and promptly centered the puck to Alex Dostie in the high slot for a sharp wrist shot into the top right corner. 

Once again on the penalty kill, Toledo nevertheless came close to reclaiming the lead during the final 10 seconds of the same stanza. On an eventual 3-on-1, Storm retrieved a loose puck at the right half-boards, setting up a backhanded breakaway attempt that was denied by Williams’ left pad. Tulsa wasn’t in the clear just yet, as the rebound bounced to A.J. Jenks for a point-blank opportunity that required a blocker save from the Oilers' netminder shortly before the period expired.

The Walleye outshot the hosts by a 14-11 margin during the third, but could not solve Williams as the visitors went beyond 60 minutes for the first time since Game 3 of the Central Division Semifinals at Fort Wayne. Although Jenks got his right leg in front of Ryan Tesink’s attempt from the right circle, the puck eventually squirted free to Sampair, who collected the puck at the near wall and circled his way into the slot for a wrister into the top left corner. Tulsa went 1-for-5 on the man advantage while the Walleye were unable to score on their only power play chance.

Three Stars:1. Tulsa – Charlie Sampair (overtime goal)2. Tulsa – Devin Williams (W, 39 saves)3. Toledo – Pat Nagle (L, 35 saves) 

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