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Gems Fall 4-2 to Blaze Thursday Night at Hara

February 9, 2012 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Dayton Gems News Release

Dayton, OH - Despite a third period comeback effort, the Dayton Gems would fall 4-2 to the Bloomington Blaze inside the historic Hara Arena on Thursday night. Scoring for the Gems was Dave Nimmo and Brandon Naurato.

Continuing their four-in-five week of play, the Gems wouldn't waste any time ensuring the Blaze weren't welcome inside the comfy confines of Hara Arena, as the physicality heated up right off the opening draw. The Blaze would fight back against the Gems momentum early in bizarre fashion, with a deflected puck bouncing into Dayton's own net to give the Blaze the surprise 1-0 lead 8:39 into the opener. Dayton continued through the final minute of the period to shake off the fluke goal, but would see the visiting Blaze light the lamp on their own off a wrister from the near point that sailed past Gems netminder Mark Sibbald, who made his first start in a Dayton sweater. Bloomington's last minute goal, coming at the 19:40 mark, send the Blaze into the first intermission ahead 2-0, while outshooting the Gems 13-8 through twenty minutes.

Bloomington would extend their lead to kickoff the second period, off a slapshot from the near circle to make it a 3-0 game just 5:22 into the middle frame. To a standing home crowd ovation, Sibbald was replaced after the third Bloomington goal in exchange for Larry Sterling. While the physicality continued on both ends of the ice, it would be the Gems to find their way into the penalty box more often as the period wore along. On the penalty kill for the third time in the game, Dayton's David Nimmo would cash in with an add man rush to blast in a shorthanded goal at 16:02 to trim the Blaze lead down to two. Shots in the second period would be scored even, 14-14.

The fans inside Hara Arena were treated to an end to end battle in the third, with the Gems surging offensively thanks to their share of powerplay opportunities. Special teams would again pay off for Dayton, as Brandon Naurato sent home his league best tenth powerplay goal of the season to trim the Blaze lead back down to one at the 15:13 mark. Naurato's goal, his sixteenth of the season, was assisted by Damian Surma and Matt Baxter. With time ticking down in regulation and the crowd on their feet, Dayton would be stonewalled by Blaze netminder Zane Kalemba in the closing minutes, while Bloomington would wiggle in a greasy point blank goal past a stunned Sterling to again open the gap back to two with a little more than a minute left. At the final horn, the Blaze celebrated their 4-2 win, while the Gems outshot the visitors 13-6 in the third period to take a 35-33 total.

With the loss, the Gems fourth in a row, Dayton's record falls to 15-25-4 while standing at 5-3-1 against the Blaze this season.

Dayton returns to action on Friday night when they make their final trek to the Ford Center in Evansville for an 8pm meeting with the second place IceMen.

The Gems come home to conclude their grueling four game week on Saturday when they host the first place Fort Wayne Komets on Cassano's Italian Ice at 7pm. Saturday's game is "Pink in the Rink" to support three local women's health organizations through a special postgame "Pink" gameworn jersey auction while the first 500 women through the gates receive a limited edition Gems pink tote bag.

Tickets for Saturday night are now available by calling the Gems at 275-7777 or by visiting www.DaytonGems.com .

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