March 17, 2013 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Bloomington Blaze
BLOOMINGTON - The Bloomington Blaze, fueled by Mid-Illini Credit Union, find themselves with their backs against the wall in the playoff chase after a 7-1 loss on Sunday to the Denver Cutthroats at U.S. Cellular Coliseum.
The loss puts the Blaze seven points behind idle Arizona, requiring the Blaze to win the remaining four games to continue hopes of a post-season spot.
The Cutthroats opened the scoring with 9:30 left in the first period. Shortly after a Blaze drive ricocheted back from the crossbar area at the Denver goal, the Cutthroats quickly drove to the other end and found the back of the Bloomington net courtesy of Gabe Gauthier assisted by Sean Zimmerman. The Cutthroats increased the lead to 2-0 on a rebound goal by A.J. Gale with 3:42 left in the opening period assisted by Joel Chouinard and Troy Schwab.
Denver earned a 3-0 lead with 10:12 left in the second period when they grabbed a loose puck in the Bloomington zone and Gale converted a pass at the right post on assists from Michael Trebish and Schwab. A rebound goal by Luke Fulghum with 6:14 left in the middle period assisted by Zimmerman gave the Fish a 4-0 lead at the second intermission.
The Fish increased the advantage to 5-0 with 14:38 remaining in the third period on a rebound goal by Mikael Bedard assisted by Fulghum. Denver made it 6-0 with 10:18 remaining on a Bedard goal assisted by Brad Smyth and Gabe Gauthier. The Blaze finally dented the scoreboard on a rebound goal by Jon Booras on a power play with 7:36 left in regulation on assists from Brett Lutes and Jared Walker. After a lengthy delay following a brawl with 3:47 left that saw Blaze defenseman Steve Makway ejected with a match penalty, the Cutthroats scored on the power play with an unassisted goal by Adam Smyth for the final margin of 7-1.
Pier-Olivier Pelletier took the loss after giving up the first four goals before being relieved late in the second period. Kieran Millan earned the win with 41 saves.
The Blaze play their next-to-last home game of the regular season on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. against the Missouri Mavericks on a Casey's 8 Gallons Night in which admission is only $8 with a voucher from each eight-gallon fuel purchase from area Casey's General Stores. The Blaze conclude the regular season with three games against the rival Quad City Mallards with games on Friday and Sunday in Moline and the Blaze home finale on Saturday night. For more information on the Blaze, call 309-TC SPORT (827-7678) or visit www.bloomingtonblaze.com, Facebook and Twitter (BLMBlaze). For tickets, visit the U.S. Cellular Coliseum box office weekdays between 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. or three hours before Saturday's game, or call 309-434-2679.