Bloomington Blaze Weekly
The Bloomington Blaze, presented by Mid-Illini Credit Union, become road warriors with three games in Texas this weekend on their longest (in distance) road trip of the season.
Tuesday, February 14- Fort Wayne 3, Bloomington 2
Bloomington scored the first two goals of the game with tallies from Kyle Laughlin and Jerry Pollastrone, but the K's answered with two of their own from Frankie DeAngelis and Chris Auger and recorded the game-winner from Jamie Milam at 11:51 of the final period. The Blaze lost for only the second time when leading after one period.
Friday, February 17- Bloomington 5, Fort Wayne 4
In one of the wildest periods in the CHL this season, the Komets handed the Blaze a full ten-minute power play, five minutes of which was 5-on-3, less than two minutes into the contest when Bryant Molle received a match penalty for beginning a fracas with the Blaze's Ryan Palmer, punching him repeatedly while Palmer was prone on the ice and play continued at the other end. Komets goalie Nick Boucher was thrown out of the game at the same time when he skated the length of the ice and punched Blaze netminder Brian Mahoney-Wilson, who had moved to help Palmer since officials were with the play at the other end of the ice. The Blaze scored twice during the 5-on-3 (Kyle Laughlin, Doug Krantz) and once more during the 5-on-4 portion (Jon Booras, his first goal since his return from a hamstring tear), but the Komets' Frank DeAngelis scored two shorthanded goals during that period. Travis Granbois added the final two Blaze scores, and the Komets cut the deficit to a single goal with 11:47 remaining, but the Blaze held on for the remainder of the physical contest. Zane Kalemba entered the game immediately after the early fracas and picked up his 14th win by making 42 saves.
Saturday, February 18- Dayton 3, Bloomington 2 (SO)
Despite an early 2-0 lead, the Blaze suffered their fourth shootout loss in eight games. Dayton's first shooter, Tim Hartung, was the only one to find the back of the net in the penalty shot round. Kyle Laughlin and Aaron Dawson lit the lamp for the Blaze.
Sunday, February 19- Fort Wayne 5, Bloomington 3
The Komets evened the four-game series of the week with the Blaze, and the overall series at 5-5-0, with Sunday's win.
The game was considerably more peaceful than Friday's game, with only 10 total minutes in penalties. The K's scored only 19 seconds into the game and never trailed. Blaze goals were registered by Doug Krantz, Jon Booras and Jordy Trottier.
Friday, February 24, 7:30 p.m.- Blaze at Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees
Saturday, February 25, 7:30 p.m.- Blaze at Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees
Sunday, February 26, 4 p.m.- Blaze at Laredo Bucks
(All Blaze game on WJBC.com and CHL-TV; watch road games at Gill Street Sports Bar and Restaurant, 3002 Gill Street, Bloomington)
BOOYAH FOR BOORAS:Â After missing 14 games over five weeks due to a torn hamstring, Jon Booras has regained the scoring form that placed him in the team's points lead before his injury.Â Booras is second on the team in scoring with 37 points (17 goals, 20 assists), and has continued his point-per-game trend with two goals and four assists in his six games back in the lineup.
VALIDATING VLADI:Â The Blaze scoring leader, Vladimir Nikiforov, is the team's second point-per-game skater along with Jon Booras.Â Nikiforov leads the Blaze with 38 points (15 goals, 23 assists) and has recorded at least a point in six of his last eight games.Â
LOCKDOWN LAUGHLIN:Â Kyle Laughlin moved into the team's goal-scoring lead with three lamp-lighters during the past week, increasing his total to 18 goals.Â His five-game point streak ended on Sunday.
FRESH, HOT POPKO:Â Luke Popko has had the hot offensive hand for the Blaze lately, registering four goals and nine assists for 13 points in the last 11 games.Â
FIRING UP QUICKLY:Â The Blaze are now 13-7-3 when scoring first, 11-2-3 when leading after one period and are unbeaten in regulation (12-0-2) with a lead heading into the third period.Â Fort Wayne is the only other CHL squad to remain unbeaten in regulation when leading after 40 minutes.Â Â Â Â
BLAZE ANATOMY:Â After missing 12 games due to a shoulder problem, Brodie Sheahan has missed the last two games after injuring his knee on Friday in Fort Wayne; his status is doubtful for the week...Brian Mahoney-Wilson suffered a broken nose in Friday's fracas in Fort Wayne, but remained in the lineup, sustaining the loss on Sunday.
WELCOME TO THE SHOW:Â In addition to coach Paul Gardner, who played ten seasons in the National Hockey League and also served as an assistant coach, several Blaze players have close connections to the NHL.Â Craig Cescon's uncle, Darryl Sittler, played 15 seasons in the NHL; Kyle Laughlin is the son of former NHL'er and current Washington Capitals television analyst Craig Laughlin; Brian Mahoney-Wilson's uncle, Ron Wilson, is the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and his great uncle Johnny Wilson and grandfather Larry Wilson won Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings; and Jordy Trottier's father Monty and uncle Rocky played in the show, and his uncle Bryan Trottier is in the NHL Hall of Fame with six Stanley Cup championships with the New York Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins.Â Â
WALK THIS WAY:Â The Blaze are inviting children to walk in Normal's Sharin' of the Green Parade on St. Patrick's Day,Â Saturday, March 17 at 1 p.m.Â Children who participate will receive a free voucher for that night's final home game of the season, and parents can purchase tickets at a discounted price of just $10.Â Deadline to sign up is March 14.Â Sign up at any Blaze home game or by calling 309-434-2980.
The Blaze return home for a pair of games to begin March, on Thursday, March 1 for a Thirsty Thursday with $2 Bud and Bud Light drafts, and Friday, March 2 on Country Financial Bobblehead Night.Â Call 309-434-2980 for more information, or visit www.bloomingtonblaze.com, like the Blaze on Facebook or follow on Twitter (BLMBlaze).
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