Bloomington Blaze Weekly
The Bloomington Blaze, fueled by Mid-Illini Credit Union, finish a six-game road stretch and return home Saturday wearing special jerseys.
Tuesday, Jan. 29- @Quad City Mallards 8, Blaze 2
--The loss equaled the worst loss of the season, also an 8-2 decision Dec. 31 at Arizona.
Friday, Feb. 1- @Denver Cutthroats 4, Blaze 2
--All three Cutthroats goals came on the power play before an empty net goal sealed the game, as Leo Thomas scored in his Blaze debut coupled with a Steve Makway goal to put the Blaze within a goal each time.
Saturday, Feb. 2- @Denver Cutthroats 3, Blaze 1
--Coach Brian Gratz was ejected after the Cutthroats scored the only first-period goal on a disputed 5-on-3 power play.
The Blaze cut the deficit to 2-1 on a Kyle Bochek second-period tally, but an empty net goal in the final minute put the game out of reach.
Friday, Feb. 8, 7:05 p.m., iWireless Center- Blaze at Quad City Mallards
--Blaze finish a six-game stretch away from home. The Blaze are 5-4-0 against the Mallards but 1-2-0 in Moline.
Saturday, Feb. 9, 7:05 p.m., U.S. Cellular Coliseum- Quad City Mallards at Blaze
--OSF St. Joseph Medical Center Heart Association Night (Paint the Coliseum Red--wear red and admission is only $10, Blaze wearing special jerseys to be auctioned immediately after game) Sunday, Feb. 10, 4:05 p.m., U.S. Cellular Coliseum- Missouri Mavericks at Blaze
--Casey's 8 Gallons Day (admission only $8 with voucher from Casey's General Stores after purchase of 8 gallons of gasoline), post-game skate with players
Re-kindling: The Blaze have lost three straight for only the second time this season. The first three-game skid occurred Dec. 29, Dec. 31, and Jan. 4, all to Arizona. Between the skids, the Blaze went 6-2-1.
Blaze anatomy: Forward Matthew Larke has missed the last three games with an upper body injury; his status for the weekend has not been determined. Defenseman Ryan Palmer is the fifth Blaze player to make a lateral mid-season jump to the ECHL and has been placed on team suspension; Palmer recorded 4 goals and 7 assists for 11 points and 61 PIM in 40 games.
Stat of the art: Jon Booras is now fifth in CHL scoring with 53 points (19 goals, 34 assists). The Blaze top the league in goals (161), assists (279) and points (440) and have the second-best power play (23 percent). The Blaze are second in the CHL with 33.6 shots per game but ninth in shots given up with 34.2. Goal lights get a workout during a Blaze game, as the Blaze lead the league with 3.74 goals per game and are ninth in goals against with 3.63.
Road hard: The Blaze are 1-3-1 on the current road stretch, the longest of the season. The sixth and final game of the swing is Friday at Quad City. The Blaze have been outscored 22-14 in those five games. The Blaze return home Saturday to complete the home-and-home set with the Mallards and will begin the final third of the season with that game.
Jersey boys: The Blaze will be painting U.S. Cellular Coliseum red when they return home on Saturday, February 9. The "Go Red for Heart" night will be part of American Heart Association Night sponsored by OSF St. Joseph Medical Center. Fans who wear red get into the game for only $10, and the Blaze will wear special jerseys to be auctioned after the game.
Junior Blaze update: The Junior Blaze earned a Sunday afternoon come-from-behind 7-5 home win over the Holland River Bandits. Patrick Anaruk was named last week's Midwest Junior Hockey League Defenseman of the Week. The Junior Blaze are home for a 3 p.m. game today (Monday) against the River Bandits before traveling to the Michigan Grrrowl for games on Saturday and Sunday.
Following the Blaze: All Blaze games can be heard on WJBC.com and fans inside U.S. Cellular Coliseum can listen to the WJBC broadcast on 93.7 FM.
Fans are invited to watch all Blaze road games at Gill Street Sports Bar and Restaurant, 3002 Gill St. west of Airport Road in Bloomington. Like the Blaze on Facebook and follow the team on Twitter (BLMBlaze) and at www.bloomingtonblaze.com. Group and multi-game ticket packages are available by calling the Blaze office at 309-TC SPORT (827-7678). For single-game and game day tickets, stop by or call the U.S. Cellular Coliseum box office at 309-434-2679.
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