2024 Tulsa Oilers vs Kansas City Mavericks

Kansas City Vs. Tulsa ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs Matchup Preview

Kansas City Vs. Tulsa ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs Matchup Preview

The Kansas City Mavericks will face the Tulsa Oilers in the first round of the 2024 Kelly Cup Playoffs.

Apr 16, 2024 by Justin Cohn
Kansas City Vs. Tulsa ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs Matchup Preview

The Kansas City Mavericks will face the Tulsa Oilers in the first round of the 2024 Kelly Cup Playoffs. This is the first of the two Mountain Division semifinals. The other features the Idaho Steelheads and Allen Americans. 

Veteran ECHL writer Justin Cohn breaks down the series and tells you what you should keep an eye on during the series.

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Mountain Division Semifinals

No. 1 Kansas City Mavericks (54-12-6) Vs. No. 4 Tulsa Oilers (30-33-9)

  • Game 1 – Wednesday, April 17 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Kansas City
  • Game 2 – Thursday, April 18 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Kansas City
  • Game 3 – Friday, April 19 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Tulsa
  • Game 4 – Monday, April 22 at 7:10 p.m. CT at Tulsa
  • Game 5 – Thursday, April 25 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Tulsa (If Necessary)
  • Game 6 – Friday, April 26 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Kansas City (If Necessary)
  • Game 7 – Sunday, April 28 at 4:05 p.m. CT at Kansas City (If Necessary)

Kansas City And Tulsa Top Scorers

Kansas City’s Patrick Curry had 39 goals (second in the ECHL) and 87 points (second in the ECHL) during the regular season; Tulsa’s Kyle Crnkovic had 20 goals and 50 points during the regular season.

What You Need To Know About The Kansas City Mavericks

The ECHL’s top team during the regular season was an absolute behemoth from top to bottom. 

There are a lot of breathtaking scorers, such as Jacob Hayhurst (37 goals) and Max Andreev (73 points), along with physical defensemen like Marc-Olivier Duquette and solid goaltenders Cale Morris and Jack LaFontaine. 

One of the best things about the Mavericks is their smarts; they average only 9.56 penalty minutes, second-fewest in the league, and have a No. 3-ranked defense (2.81 goals against per game) to go with the top-ranked offense (4.24 goals per game). The Mavericks went 6-1-1 against the Oilers during the regular season, too.

What You Need To Know About The Tulsa Oilers

The Oilers backed into the postseason by going 1-4-2 in their last seven games, and four of those games were against the Wichita Thunder, who missed the postseason. 

Goaltender Julian Junca has played in nine of the last 10 games and finished the regular season 16-16-5 with a 2.87 goals-against average, .901 save percentage and one shutout. 

The Oilers will need him to be big in this series, especially with an offense that ranks only 18th (3.08 goals per game) and a defense that ranks 14th (3.24 goals against per game). 

The Oilers don’t go to the penalty box often either – only averaging 11.31 minutes per game – and their special teams are just OK. But they play with a lot of grit and opportunism; players such as Alec Butcher and Eddie Matsushima will burn snoozing opponents. 

And don’t discount the value of 57-year-old head coach Rob Murray’s experience; he led the ECHL’s Alaska Aces to a championship in 2014.

Two Players To Watch In Kansas City-Tulsa Series

Kansas City’s Cade Borchardt was one of the ECHL’s most exciting players to watch during the regular season – at age 25. Granted, he got his skates wet with 14 games for the Mavericks in 2022-2023, but he was good start to finish during this regular season with 24 goals and 77 points – tops among all rookies – in 71 games. 

Tulsa’s Dante Sheriff has been a consistent offensive presence in two seasons for the Oilers, totaling 31 goals and 79 points in 113 games, but he’s become more defensively responsible. He was minus-16 as a rookie in 2022-23, plus-8 this season.

X-Factor For The Kansas City-Tulsa Series

Loss of Max Andreev. 

Another of the Mavericks’ great young players is Andreev, who had 19 goals and 73 points (third among rookies) in 63 games. He also played five AHL games with Coachella Valley, but Andreev will miss the first five games of this 2-3-2 formatted series because of an ECHL suspension for leaving the bench to join an altercation. 

The Mavericks are going to have to adjust without a player who was plus-34 (tied with Toledo’s Grant Gabriele for best in the league), but what a boost his return will be for the Mavericks if they let Tulsa hang around.

Kansas City Mavericks Vs. Tulsa Oilers Predictions

I shouldn’t have teased you with that thought because I’m picking the Mavericks in five games. 

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