The Blaze split the weekend series at Missouri by falling 5-2 on Saturday night. (Photo by Jakob Blome)
By Greg Halbleib
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - The Bloomington Blaze dropped a 5-2 decision to the Missouri Mavericks on Saturday night at the Independence Event Center.
The Mavericks scored first after Kellen Tochkin converted a 2-on-1 break with 6:42 remaining in the opening period on a pass from Brian Bicek with the second assist given to Andrew Courtney.
Missouri extended the lead to 2-0 with 7:58 left in the middle period when Sebastien Thinel roofed a drive from the bottom of the right circle assisted by Jamie VanderVeeken and Jeff Pierce. The Blaze collected a power play goal to cut the mark to 2-1 when Matthew Larke rolled the puck in at close range in traffic just 75 seconds later with assists to Jesse Dudas and Nicklas Lindberg.
The Mavericks made it 3-1 when Brandon Smith took a handoff from David Simoes, raced the length of the ice up the right wall and scored top shelf with 14:44 left in regulation. Pierce made it 4-1 with 10:30 left after taking a pass from Thinel and converting a breakaway. David Gilbert registered a power play goal with 9:12 left from the edge of the right circle assisted by Nicholas Rioux and Tyler Gron to cut the Blaze deficit to 4-2. Brian Bicek made it 5-2 with 3:31 left when he blistered a shot from a centering pass from behind the net on a power play assisted by Jeff Pierce and David Pszenyczny.
Pier-Olivier Pelletier took the loss despite 42 saves while Mathieu Corbeil earned the win with 34 saves. Each team was handed six power play chances, with the Blaze converting twice and the Mavericks once. The Blaze fall to 6-3-0 while the Mavericks pick up their first home win in three tries and improve to 3-4-2.
The Blaze return to U.S. Cellular Coliseum on Tuesday to host the league-leading Allen Americans in a battle of the first- and second-place teams. Face-off is 7:05 p.m.