Bloomington Blaze forward David Gilbert handles the puck against the Rapid City Rush in the season opener on Friday, October 19, 2012 at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Ill. (Photo by Jakob Blome)
BLOOMINGTON - The Bloomington Blaze, fueled by Mid-Illini Credit Union, battled back but could not overcome a three-goal first-period deficit in a 5-4 season-opening loss to the Rapid City Rush on Friday night at U.S. Cellular Coliseum.
The visitors tallied first when Scott Wray threw a sharp angle shot that got tangled up in Blaze goalie Pier-Olivier Pelletier's pads with 15:02 left in the first. The Rush made it 2-0 with 11:55 left in the opening period when Jordan Baker took a pass in the slot from John Snowden and converted a backhand shot. Baker made it 3-0 on a power play goal with 10:01 left in the opening chapter from the deep slot. Jon Booras scored the first Blaze goal of the season after grabbing the rebound of his own wraparound attempt with 8:47 left in the opening chapter. The Rush answered with a backhand goal by Damian Surma with 3:38 to end the first period scoring with Rapid City leading 4-1.
The Blaze cut the margin to 4-2 with 15:43 left in the second period when Jesse Dudas picked up a good hop at the left post and put the puck in the back of the net. Rapid City pushed their lead to 5-2 with 6:24 remaining in the second period on a power play tally when Kyle Peto took a pass at the left post and converted.
The Blaze again cut the deficit to a pair at 5-3 with 13:04 remaining in the third when Sebastien Trudeau received a perfect pass at the left post for the score with assists from Tysen Dowzak and David Gilbert. Dowzak cut the Rush lead to 5-4 when he pried the puck out of the left corner, skated in front and scored a backhand top shelf goal, assisted by Jon Booras, with 1:43 left in regulation. The Blaze sent an extra attacker on for just over a minute in the final stages, but could not get the equalizer.
Pelletier took the loss in net with 23 saves while Boron earned the win with 32 stops.
The Blaze host the rematch against the Rush on Saturday night at 7:05 at U.S. Cellular Coliseum. Fans will receive an adult replica Blaze jersey compliments of Mid-Illini Credit Union. The next action for the Junior Blaze will be a rematch as well against the Michigan Ice Dogs at 11 a.m. Sunday.
For more information on the Blaze, call 309-434-2980 or visit online at www.bloomingtonblaze.com and on Facebook and Twitter (BLMBlaze).