Jeremiah Ketts has the name more common for southwest Kansas area instead of his native Missouri where he was raised.
The rookie centerman made himself feel right at home on the United Wireless Arena ice Sunday night in helping his Tulsa Oilers beat the Denver Cutthroats 4-3 in a Central Hockey League exhibition battle.
Ketts had an assist on the first goal by Ben Gorden at 5:37 of the opening period and scored on the third at 13:45 as the Oilers built an early 3-0 lead.
Ketts said it was important to get off to a good start because it was the last chance to prove something to the Oiler coaches.
"I was very happy to play with my line," Ketts said. "As a center, I know I'm supposed to give space for them. What also helped was a lot of talk. You move around with a lot of guys during training camp. It's good when you can talk to your line as you go down the ice."
Oilers head coach Bruce Ramsey said he wanted to see how Ketts would work with the first line and was pleased with the results. Ramsay said a lot of players decided their own fates on the Dodge City ice.
"It was either 'show up or show me the way home,'" Ramsay said. "People made things easier for me to decide. We had a good training camp, but we have to cut down our roster and get my team together.
"This is a beautiful venue and the people here should be proud of the hockey rink and the entire facility."
Cramer scored Tulsa's second goal of the opening stanza at 5:57 and Matt Register scored the final Oiler goal at 7:51 of the second period, again with a man advantage. Three of the Oilers' goals were on the power play.
Another player who probably had his stock go up among making the team was goalkeeper Dan Bakala, who received third-star honors.
Although the Cutthroats were down, they were able to get more shots on goal during the first 30 minutes of the game (both teams changed goalkeepers midway through the second period). Bakala was able to stop 21 of the 22 shots fired at him by Denver.
The Cutthroats were led by A.J. Gale, who scored two goals in the game and was the second star of the night. Gale recorded his first goal at 15:09 of the first period and scored again in the third period.
"It's a night for players to show up and be hockey players," said Denver assistant Brent Cullaton. "Gale is one of our leaders and that line of Gale, Brad Smyth and Troy Schwab loves to play the game."
Denver goalkeeper Kent Patterson allowed all four goals to the Oilers, but the Cutthroat coaches said after the game that it wasn't his fault for any of them because the players in front of him weren't ready. Kieran Millan stopped all 11 shots he faced in the final 30 minutes.
Page 2 of 2 - "Our team didn't play hard at the start," Cullaton said. "The score could have been much worse if (Patterson) didn't play well. Our team has to play better in front of him."