Oilers Need Costello & Combs

GTR Sports Writer


Once again, a double-edged sword may fall on the Tulsa Oilers.

Early last season, a sniper by the name of Rob Hisey was leading the Central Hockey League in scoring, igniting the Oilers to first place in the standings. When he was called up by Springfield of the American Hockey League, Tulsa experienced a dip that led to a fifth-straight season without a playoff berth.

Currently, Hisey-clone Chad Costello stands third in the with 58 points through 38 games and the Oilers are streaking again. Coach Bruce Ramsay said both Costello and linemate Jack Combs are prime candidates to move up soon, leaving the team with an uncertain future.

“Both see the ice extremely well and make passes you don’t expect them to make,’’ said Ramsay, who guided the Oilers to a 19-18-1 record through Jan. 15. “Hisey is a little different (than Costello). Rob is a natural center iceman and more of a scorer. Chad is the kind of player who wants to make passes.’’

While reaching the would be good news for Costello and Combs, the heart of Tulsa’s offense would vanish. Combs has 24 goals and Costello 23, ranking 1-2 in the league. Costello’s .225 shooting percentage is second in the . Costello hopes his numbers are good enough to follow in Hisey’s footsteps.

“Last year he was the talk of the league,’’ Costello said of Hisey. “Rammer (Ramsay) said he is my size and has my style. He was on fire and I want to get a call like he did. I think both me and Combs deserve to move up to the next level.’’

Costello enjoys the fact that Ramsay “plays his horses,’’ meaning the more effectiveness shown on the ice results in more playing time. Costello said both he and Combs began working for their big breaks last summer, increasing training to become faster and stronger. The result was more confidence and a natural on-ice melding of the two.

“We meshed real well, the first shift of our first preseason game, ‘’ Costello said. “We got a few chances and right away we knew we could move the puck. We knew we could find each other.’’

Costello played for Ramsay when he coached at Muskegon. Ramsay said he had an idea of Costello’s overall ability, but had no idea his pupil would blossom like he has this season.’’

“I knew he had the potential and now I want him to be a top 10 scorer in the league,’’ said Ramsay.

Story continues at www.gtrnews.com, search keyword, “Costello.”

Updated 01-24-2011

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