Cutthroats Lose Key Game to Bloomington, 5-2
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - The Bloomington Blaze kept their playoff hopes alive on Saturday night with a 5-2 win over the Denver Cutthroats in front of 3,251 fans at US Cellular Coliseum.
The Cutthroats (28-26-8) needed to earn at least a point in the game in order to have an chance a locking up a playoff spot in Sunday's matchup between the two clubs. With the loss, Denver's magic number to clinch a playoff spot remains at five points.
Brad Smyth saw his 12-game point streak and 10-game assist streak come to an end in the loss. Luke Fulghum and Mikael Bedard each scored for the Fish in the loss. Kyle Bochek tallied a pair of goals in the game for the Blaze (28-31-2).
The turning point in the game came early in the second period when the Blaze took advantage of a full 5-on-3 power play to open up a 4-0 lead. Steve Makway scored from the left point at 7:43 and Bochek added a rebound goal just over a minute later for his second of the game.
Fulghum put Denver on the board late in the second and Bedard scored just 1:24 into the third to make it a two-goal deficit for the Cutthroats, but the offense went quiet on both sides until Nicklas Lindberg added an empty-net tally in the final minute.
Bochek opened up the scoring 3:28 into the first and Brett Lutes made it a 2-0 lead for the Blaze at 13:18.
Kent Patterson suffered the loss for Denver stopping 24 shots. Ross MacKnnon turned aside 37-of-39 shots for the Blaze to earn the win.
Denver was scoreless in four power play chances. Bloomington finished 2-for-4 to maintain their pace as the top power play unit in the league.
The Cutthroats close out their three-game weekend on Sunday for a St. Patrick's Day matchup against the Blaze. Puck drop is set for 3:05 PM MST.
1. Kyle Bocheck (BLM)
2. Steve Makway (BLM)
3. Brett Lutes (BLM)
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