Blaze forward Matthew Larke drives on Wichita goalie Kevin Regan as the Blaze fall 5-1 on the road on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at Intrust Bank Arena. (Photo courtesy Wichita Thunder)
By Greg Halbleib
BLOOMINGTON - The Bloomington Blaze slipped out of second place with a 5-1 loss on Wednesday night to the Wichita Thunder at Intrust Bank Arena.
The Thunder scored first as a Ryan Flanigan shot bounced wildly off a Blaze leg and into the net with 9:38 remaining in the first period.
Wichita increased the lead to 2-0 with 9:08 remaining in the middle period when Les Reaney skated free on a breakaway for a score assisted by Dave Inman. The Blaze answered just 1:16 later with 7:52 left when David Gilbert drove a one-timer glove side from the slot on feeds from Charlie Townsend and Tyler Gron. The Thunder scored on a long power play with 6:12 left in the second period to build their lead to 3-1 on a goal at the right post by Ian Lowe assisted by Kevin Young and Nathan Lutz.
Reaney increased the Thunder lead to 4-1 with 17:10 left in the third period on a rebound assisted by Erick Lizon and Travis Wight. The hosts increased the lead to 5-1 with 15:43 remaining in regulation on a drive from the left from RG Flath assisted by Inman.
Gerry Festa took the loss in net for the Blaze with 31 saves while Kevin Regan picked up the win with 24 stops. The Blaze were unsuccessful in two power play chances while the Thunder were 1-for-5.
The Blaze continue the holiday week filled with four games in five days with the final road contest of the week, a 7:05 p.m. Friday face-off at Tulsa. The Blaze return home for games on Saturday and Sunday, beginning with a 7:05 p.m. Saturday puck drop against the Missouri Mavericks. Sunday's 4:05 p.m. face-off is against the Quad City Mallards, featuring a post-game skate with the players. The Junior Blaze are also in action at U.S. Cellular Coliseum with games at 3 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Sunday against the Soo Firehawks.