(Photo courtesy of Mary Heern/Bloomington Thunder)
Those of us who have been blessed to watch Bobby Watson play hockey know what the Bloomington Thunder, of the SPHL are just now discovering; THAT BOY CAN PLAY.
Recently acquired by the Bloomington Thunder, (with the help of Junior Oiler Head Coach Marty Majors and others), Bobby Watson signed a contract to play professional hockey in Bloomington Il. The 5’7” 160lb, native of Broken Arrow, is the first Tulsa Junior Oiler Alum to play professional hockey, and he is not disappointing. Through 6 games with the Thunder, Bobby has 5 goals, 4 assists, 10 penalty minutes and is a +4, including a game tying goal on Feb. 16th with 55 seconds remaining in the third, which the Thunder went on to win in overtime.
Greg Halbleib of the Thunder stated, “He did not collect a point in his first game on February 8 at Huntsville, but in his next five games he registered five goals and four assists for nine points and a plus-4 rating. His five-game point streak is the longest current run on the Thunder.” For those of us here, we’re not surprised.
Junior Oiler head coach Marty Majors and Owner Jeff Lund saw the work ethic and determination which Watson brought day in and out as a junior player and contacted many clubs, both in the CHL and the SPHL. Jeff stated; “I called around to quite a few clubs on Bobby’s behalf and when Bloomington finally picked him up, they said ‘is this the guy you’ve been talking to us about?’ and I replied well yes! And he hasn’t let any of us down.” Coach Majors is not surprised adding, “Ever since I saw him I knew he could compete at a higher level if someone gave him an opportunity. I had talked to Greg Pankewicz [who he had known from his Colorado Eagle days and is the Head Coach in Bloomington] and he gave Bobby that opportunity.” Thankfully, they listened. You can follow Bobby and his Bloomington teammates at http://bloomingtonthunder.pointstreaksites.com.
The Junior Oilers return to action this weekend as they face the El Paso Rhinos this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are only $10 and available by calling 918-252-0011 or at the door.
For Those Who Remain: There’s No Place Like Home.
The remaining Junior Oilers welcome the Dallas Snipers into the Oilers Ice Center this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights. Dallas comes in with a record of 16-17-1 good for fourth in the Midwest Division, while Tulsa brings its 6-29-0 record limping into this weekends contest.
It would be easy to focus on the many story lines which has succumb this team since the departure of Zac Desjardins, but this would shed a negative light on the group which remains here; the group that didn’t quit despite adversity and have stuck with first year Head Coach Marty Majors buying into his coaching philosophy. But, it has not been easy.
Gone are many of the veterans which graced us with their presence last time we spoke. Mike Evans, Devan Beck, and Eric Messer, just to name a few: and injuries have also plagued this team with Langford and Ruiz out for extended periods of time, not to mention the early season ending knee injury to Brandon Harris, which looking back, became a pre-cursor of the times to come.
Pride is what these boys are playing for moving forward, having been mathematically eliminated a few weeks ago. Tulsa native, Tyler Schulz will make his home debut as a junior player. The 5’11”, 170 lb., forward brings some much needed speed to the remaining core of forwards in Smith, Senni, Truax, Neal, Messer (Kyle), Trylinski and Small. Joining Schulz in the “who are these guys category” are new comers Sean Murphy, Weston Scott, Blake Whitner, Brad Merchant, Chandler Cole, Dillion Lieberg and goaltender Teke Murphy; all of which make their home debuts in Junior Oiler uniforms this week.
With this season all but wrapped up, Tulsa looks to prove to Dallas that this remaining core of veterans and hard nose new comers should not be taken lightly. Tickets are available at the door for $10 or call 918-252-0011 for more information.
After an 0-3 weekend at the hands of the Salt Lake City Moose, the Junior Oilers spend the next three weekends on the road. During this span the boys will face teams with a combined record of 50-23-4 overall, 24-15-1 at home. It all starts this Friday as they face the Colorado Eagles (13-10-2) in Fort Collins, CO.
With a depleted and almost non-existent roster, the Junior Oilers head out on one of the toughest road trips they will have all year, and possibly the toughest in their short history. Consider this; gone or on injured reserve are Trevor Ruiz, Elliot Langford, Landon Whomble, Matt Winkle, Brayton Van Gotum, and of course Brandon Harris from earlier in the year. Head coach Marty Majors added Kyle Truax (Trucks) and Tulsa heavy weight Dixon Sawyer, to help stop the bleeding. But with all do respect to these fine athletes, we need at least Ruiz, Langford and Harrison healthy and on the ice. They are excellent at limiting shots on goal, transitioning out of the defensive zone, and let’s face it; they are veterans and understand the highs and lows of a long hockey season. Mike Evans and his defensive partners of Hutchinson, Hiserodt, Shuck and now Puetz, have had their hands full due to injuries. They have shown a flash of brilliance on occasion but have had a tough time playing a full 60 minutes, and it’s no surprise; they have no help, because of injuries. Devan Beck and Derek Smith have now taken on the familiar roll which was played by David Morong and Bobby Watson last year; score all the goals and that’s a lot to ask, anybody.
However, in the face of adversity a new and exciting quality has emerged: DISCIPLINE. Yep, I said it. In the face of what could be a very long and up hill battle in the Midwest Division, the boys are playing with discipline. Gone are the days of fisticuffs after the whistle, trash talking officials, and letting the other team get in their head. “GET OUT OF THERE,” could be heard throughout the Oilers Ice Center, this past weekend, on many occasions by new head coach Marty Majors.
“I’m here to teach these boys the game of hockey, and how this game translates into the real world after their playing careers are done. You don’t talk to your boss, by raising your voice and throwing a fit, or speak to your co-workers in a negative way. These boys have to learn that,” Coach Majors stated Saturday afternoon. The remaining junior players must be buying into the coach’s philosophy. Consider this, Tulsa was whistled for an average of 26 minutes of penalties PER GAME up until this past weekend. During the Salt Lake series the Junior Oilers where whistled for 23 minutes of penalties, TOTAL, the entire weekend; I know you’re doing the math, but I already did. This averages just over 7 minutes of penalties per game and limiting power plays for the opponents is something Coach Majors and Assistant Coach Ty Smith can build upon.
So as our boys hit the road, “working on fixing the negative aspects of the game and building upon the positives” is a theme which is sure to get this team back to its winning ways, as they continue to fight and claw their way through the long and lovely season of junior hockey.
“It’s been like a month since they [Junior Oilers] have played here,” touted a Junior Oiler faithful last night to me at the Oilers Ice Center. No kiddo, more like 2 two months to be exact, and over this two month hiatus, (from a home game) a lot has happened in and around this team.
Weather played a factor in early December and the boys were forced to cancel their weekend series in Dallas, although they did play one game on their way to El Paso, and won under the direction of new Head Coach Marty Majors. Oh by the way, we hired a new head coach too. CHL and Tulsa Oilers alum, Marty Majors took the head coaching reigns after the departure of Zac Desjardins just before Thanksgiving. Under his tutelage the Juniors’ have gone 2-6, as they travelled to El Paso and faced the WSHL leaders for a three game set and then played four games at the “Showcase” in Las Vegas. In the Sin City Tulsa went 1-3 as Adam Salisbury backstopped them to their only win, as he pitched a shut-out stopping 32 shots to preserve the victory: But now, its time to come back to the friendly confines of the Oilers Ice Center. “We are glad to finally be back at home. I know Marty’s excited to get his first home stand as a head coach underway,” stated Jeff Lund in a phone interview. Colter Pritchard, sporting a new mustache, stated; “We have worked extremely hard. The goalies have had extra sessions and the morale of the team seems to be better.”
This “morale” and a lack of 60 full minutes of hockey are the few things which have been lacking in the first half of the season. Rest assured Junior Oiler fans, with a new coach in town, this team should come out prepared and ready to get on the right side of the win/loss column.
The Salt Lake City Moose stampede into the Oilers Ice Center to battle the Junior Oilers Friday evening, with the puck dropping at 6pm. Games continue Saturday at 6pm and Sunday morning at 10:30am. For more information call 918-252-0011.
Las Vegas North Thu, Dec 19, 2013
Eric Baldwin lifted San Diego Gulls to a 9-1 victory with a hat trick against Tulsa Jr. Oilers.
Baldwin’s first goal came 1:39 into the first period. He then added goals at 8:57 into the first and at 24:48 into the first.
San Diego Gulls kept Tulsa Jr. Oilers’ goalie busy throughout the game, and Eric Messer made 40 saves on 49 shots. San Diego Gulls found the back of the net more times than it usually has this season. This season, San Diego Gulls averages 3.2 goals per contest. Team’s forwards weren’t the only contributers offensively, and the team’s defensemen showcased their scoring touch with three goals.
San Diego Gulls also got points from Kyle Rimbach, who also registered one goal and one assist,Drake Deberry, who also racked up one goal and two assists, and Ustin Molochkov, who also had one goal and one assist. Others who scored for San Diego Gulls included Will Parker, Wesley Varrasso, andNick Strohmeyer, who scored one goal each. Other players who recorded assists for San Diego Gulls were Michael Leone, who had three, Austin Millard, Lukas Perez, and Cole Bohdan, who contributed one a piece, and Kalvis Ozols and Mark Birchall, who each chipped in two.
Brody Cavataio recorded 21 saves for San Diego Gulls. San Diego Gulls incurred four minutes in penalty time with two minors. Tulsa Jr. Oilers incurred 12 minutes in penalty time with six minors.
By Jim Douthat
(Note: This article and Jon Wertheim’s article on SI.com should speak volumes about not only our Junior Oilers, but any athlete striving to be their best).
Just over a month ago SI.com had a number of their writers pick a “Sportsman of the Year.” As usual, many of these writers went with the obvious picks; Lebron James, David Ortiz, Peyton Manning and Phil Mickelson, just to name a few. Now while these players are all polarizing figures in their perspective sports and amazing athletes, I contend many of these writers picked these players because, let’s face it, they sell magazines and create traffic to their website. However, a few great writers who can think outside of the box, and wish to do a little research, nominated other lesser known athletes, a sportscaster and even a surgeon, who give just as much, and possibly more to sports, as the aforementioned overpaid athletes. Jon Wertheim did his research and found what many Tulsa hockey fans have known for years, David Alexandre Beauregard is a class act, on and off the ice.
Time after time Sports Illustrated, ESPN, FOX Sports One and others, bring us not only the recaps of the days events in sports, but inundate us with every angle, of every play, of every game. They then tell us how those plays could have been better, why they barely worked or should have never been attempted in the first place. On top of this, we have hourly updates on Aaron Rogers’ collar bone, or breaking news about another athlete falling from grace. At times I’m unsure whether I have on one of the sports networks, or I may have accidently pushed play and am watching one of my mom’s prerecorded “Days of Our Lives” episodes. Let’s face it, American’s love their dirt. However Jon Wertheim article was a piece of pure genius. Not because he chose a fan favorite of Tulsa hockey, but because he chose to pick a player who will never sign multi-million dollar endorsement deal, who will never grace the cover of GQ, or sell us our favorite beverage. Wertheim picked a player who played the game because he loved it, and had passion for it, day after day, for 20 years. Oh and by the way, he did it without his left eye.
In case you missed it, the link for this piece of journalistic virtuoso is provided below and to Jon Wertheim, thanks for showing the rest of the sports world what it’s like to think outside the box, choosing a player who doesn’t dominate the headlines and televise his “decisions”, but who played with passion, grace and grit, and has the heart of a champion.
Tulsa Gets Shutout by Seattle and Returns the Favor to New Mexico (from Narrative Science).
Las Vegas South Tue, Dec 17, 2013
Bryce Fink recorded a shutout against Tulsa Jr. Oilers as Seattle Totems picked up a 3-0 win.
Sergey Kuznetsov was all over the ice for Seattle Totems, as he registered two goals in the win. Kuznetsov found the back of the net 2:17 into the first period to make the score 1-0 Seattle Totems and again while on the power play 4:30 into the second to make the score 3-0 Seattle Totems.
Seattle Totems excelled on the penalty kill, not giving up a single goal in four chances. Seattle Totems kept Tulsa Jr. Oilers’ goalie busy throughout the game, and Eric Messer made 30 saves on 33 shots.
Seattle Totems additionally got points from Frank Flight, who also had one goal and one assist to lead the team in points. In addition, Seattle Totems received assists from Lucas Walsh and Nikolay Mamadzhanov, who each chipped in one.
Tulsa Jr. Oilers was held below its usual level of production. Tulsa Jr. Oilers averages 2.4 goals per game.
Seattle Totems’ Fink stopped 26 shots out of the 26 that he faced. Seattle Totems incurred 10 minutes in penalty time with five minors. Tulsa Jr. Oilers incurred 12 minutes in penalty time with six minors.
Las Vegas North Wed, Dec 18, 2013
Tulsa Jr. Oilers used a sparkling performance by Adam Salisbury to take down New Mexico Renegades, as the netminder did not allow a goal in Tulsa Jr. Oilers’ 2-0 shutout victory.
Tulsa Jr. Oilers managed to stay out of the box better than usual, finishing with one minor for two minutes in penalty time. Tulsa Jr. Oilers ended up below its season average of 28.0 penalty minutes per game.
New Mexico Renegades managed to stay out of the box better than usual, racking up one minor for two minutes in penalty time. New Mexico Renegades finished below its season average of 15.0 penalty minutes per game. New Mexico Renegades forced Tulsa Jr. Oilers goalie Salisbury to work between the pipes, taking 32 shots.
Adam Salisbury made 32 saves for Tulsa Jr. Oilers on 32 shots. Tulsa Jr. Oilers registered zero goals on one power play opportunities. John Groth rejected 24 shots on goal for New Mexico Renegades. New Mexico Renegades registered zero goals on one power play opportunities.
The Tulsa Junior Oilers are proud to announce the hiring of Marty Magers as the new head coach of the team. Magers, a fourth round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 2002, spent most of his time split between the USHL, OHL and the CHL where he played for the Tulsa Oilers during the 2009-2010 campaign. During his stint with Tulsa, Magers had a save percentage of .904, appearing in 20 games for Bruce Ramsay’s club. Since his departure from professional hockey Magers has spent time coaching youth hockey teams in the Tulsa area. Justin Lund stated, “Marty has a great hockey resume and we are excited to have him as our head coach.” This is his first head coaching job in the junior hockey arena.
Tulsa returns to action as they travel to Texas for a weekend series on December 6th, 7th, and 8th. Their next home series is January 10th, 11th, and 12th as the Junior Oilers welcome in the Salt Lake City Moose. For more information call 918-252-0011.
(Picture courtesy of Hayden Klein).
The Junior Oilers have accepted Zac Desjardins resignation as head coach from the organization. In his one and a half years as the head coach, Desjardins built this organization from the ground up and led them to the playoffs in their first year in the WSHL. Within the Tulsa hockey community, Coach Desjardins was always around to help not only his players, but youth and adult hockey players as well. Through his camps and instruction, he taught players of all ages how to improve their game, with grace, grit, and hard work. It should be said, that he brought these same qualities to the Junior Oilers organization day in and day out, as he instructed young man about life on and off the ice.
Justin Lund stated, “Zac came to us and let us know that he had lost the passion and thought it was unfair to the organization and the players to continue. We are currently pursuing a replacement for Coach Desjardins and should have someone in place before the next road trip. For now Assistant Coach Ty Smith will run practices, until a replacement can be named. On behalf of the Junior Oilers organization I can not thank Zac enough for everything that he has done with not only the team, but his work around the rink as well.”
The Junior Oilers travel to Texas to take on the Brahmas on Friday Dec. 6th, before heading to El Paso the following weekend for a series against the Rhinos. Tulsa returns home on Friday January 10th as they welcome in the Salt Lake City Moose. For more information call 918-252-0011.