The Tulsa Rampage returned to the Oilers Ice Center to play their first home game since December. The fans were excited to see the team again and to meet the newest players, Sean Heidrick and Alex Betts who had arrived in Tulsa earlier in the week. The two were instrumental in the team’s 3-2 victory over the Boulder Bison.
The first period provided a lot of excitement as scoring opportunities were created at both ends of the ice. While the goaltenders held strong, the tension between the two teams mounted bringing fans to their feet as Joseph Panariello bloodied the Bison’s David Higgs in a dominant fight. As “Pano” sat in the box and Higgs was attended to by the medical staff, fans got a double dose of their seemingly favorite hockey element – another fight. Captain Ty Smith took on Jake Ryan, winning his fight as well and shifting momentum to the Rampage. Newcomer Sean Heidrick capitalized with only 20 seconds left in the period on an even strength goal assisted by Shane Khalaf and Bobby Watson.
The second period brought much of the same end to end excitement but it was the Bison’s Jonathan Sdao who capitalized late in that frame. With a tie game at the beginning of the final period, both teams appeared to be energized. Rampage goaltender Hayden Capuozzo made some heart stopping saves which were followed by a tie breaking goal by defenseman Matt Boente. That goal was assisted by both Sean Heidrick and Alex Betts. The two paired up again to add another goal with under two minutes left in the period. Boulder Bison coach Brent Cullaton pulled goaltender Mathieu Laberge to add an extra attacker and with only 12 second left the Bison added a second goal to their side of the scoreboard. It was to no avail though as Tulsa held on to the 3-2 lead until the final buzzer.
The Rampage will take on the Bison in the second of the three game series on Saturday at 7:45 pm.