Oilers are Playoff Bound

GTR Sports Writer

Almost everything has fallen into place for the Tulsa Oilers during the 2010-11 Central Hockey League season. The last remaining item on their agenda is a deep run in postseason play.

The Oilers have clinched a winning year, a playoff berth and most likely home ice advantage for their first series. All that remains to be seen is whether or not coach Bruce Ramsay’s team can continue winning.

“How exciting it is right now to be a coach and the season has been more than I dreamed of considering how we started 3-11,’’ says Ramsay, now in his second season with the club. “We were in such bad shape and going through tough times makes you really enjoy the times you’re winning hockey games. We made changes, but didn’t change our system. Now we’ve got a lot more to accomplish.’’

Ramsay is left wondering just where the Oilers would be if they had won just half of those games early in the season. However, he said it’s more important how you finish than how you start.

Postseason is looking promising with the return of leading scorer Chad Costello and the possible addition of another experienced offensive threat. Costello was leading the in points with 75 when he was called up to Lake Erie of the American League. Now that he’s returned, there is reason for optimism that Tulsa will win its first playoff series since 1994.

“His coming back makes us a better team,’’ Ramsay says. “He brings a lot to our power play and he and Jack (Combs) play extremely well together. By reuniting, those two give us a lift. You don’t take away the top scorer in the league and it not have a negative effect on you.

“I believe we will also add one more quality forward with experience. He will be someone with leadership qualities whose been in this (playoff) situation before. He will make our team even better.’’

Ramsay says injured ace Gordon Bell will not return for postseason play and will continue as the assistant coach behind the bench. He says high-scoring forward Harrison Reed will most likely remain with Lake Erie.

“The most important thing is the character and depth of our team’’ says Ramsay. “We’re getting good contributions from everyone in our lineup.

“No. 1 in the playoffs is preparation and No. 2 is to focus on your goals. The guys have got to make the sacrifices. The playoffs are a war of attrition. You’ve got take care of yourself, get rest and stay healthy. We want every player at his peak.’’

Updated 03-21-2011

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