After opening up the season on the road, the Oklahoma City Blazers returned home to the Blazers Ice Centre this past weekend, welcoming the Springfield Express. Led by head coach Jeremy Law, the Express entered the weekend with a 5-2-2 record, while coach Tyler Fleck and the Blazers entered with a 2-1-0 record.
The home opener on Friday saw the Blazers offense firing on all cylinders, while their goaltending built a brick wall behind them. Outshooting the Express 42-21, the Blazers scored six goals from six different scorers, and goaltender Ole Nilsson posted his first shutout of the season, defeating the Express 6-0. Tomas Nemeth, Adam Skutchan, and Lubos Vacek all recorded a goal and an assist in the game. Drake Johnson, Kirill Romanov, and Dominik Taras added the other goals. In total, 14 Blazers recorded a point in the game.
On Saturday, the Express retooled their strategies and made it a much harder challenge for the Blazers. Adam Skutchan opened up the scoring in the first period, and just a minute later, Linus Dahlberg tied the game back up for Springfield and sent the teams to the locker rooms with a tied 1-1 score.
Springfield kept the momentum going into the second period with Linus Dahlberg scoring a second goal to put the Express up 2-1 and Tyson Klingspohn scored later to give the Express a 3-1 lead. The Blazers fought back as the second period wore on with Tomas Rubes scoring to bring the Blazers back within one and just 2:30 later, Kirill Romanov scored to tie the game back up with just fifty seconds left in the second period. As the teams headed in for the second intermission, the score was tied once again at 3-3.
As the ebb and flow of momentum continued, the Blazers jumped back out to a lead five minutes into the third as Dominik Taras scored to make it a 4-3 lead and just a minute later, Kirill Romanov scored his second of the game to make it 5-3. Springfield refused to quit as the third period continued, as Michael Crawford made it a one-goal game once again. Goaltender Ole Nilsson was injured in the third period after taking a knock to the head, and he left the game with Filip Kostka coming in on relief. It came down to the wire for Springfield as they tried to get the tying goal. They finally broke through at the 19:04 mark with a goal from Konstantin Ljubobratetes to tie it up at 5-5 and send the game into overtime. In OT, Adam Skutchan scored his second of the night to put the Blazers on top, 6-5.
Sunday afternoon, the two teams closed out the weekend series. Springfield earned the first goal of the game midway through the first period as Tyson Klingspohn scored at the 9:45 mark. Five minutes later, Kirill Romanov scored to tie things up for OKC. After one, the teams were tied at 1-1.
Linus Dahlberg opened the scoring up in the second period to put Springfield back ahead 2-1 at 6:55. Back-to-back goals from Tomas Nemeth and Kole Hudson put the Blazers back up 3-2 to close out the second period.
Tyson Klingspohn scored his second of the night to tie things up at 3-3 at 4:25 of the third. The Blazers eeked ahead once again from the stick of Adam Skutchan to make it 4-3 Blazers. And in a repeat of the night before, the Express was able to tie things up and send it to overtime as Linus Dahlberg scored past Filip Kostka to make it 4-4.
As overtime wore on, Tomas Rubes picked up the puck in the slot and scored to give the Blazers their third straight win and second straight in OT.
The Oklahoma City Blazers head back on the road next weekend and head up to Salt Lake City, Utah to take on the Moose. This will be the first time the Blazers have faced the Moose in franchise history. The series begins on Friday at 8:05 Central Time.