Travis Granbois moves toward the net as the Bloomington Blaze beat Wichita, 6-4, Friday at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Ill. (Photo by Jakob Blome)
BLOOMINGTON - The Bloomington Blaze, fueled by Mid-Illini Credit Union, battled back from a two-goal deficit to defeat the Wichita Thunder 6-4 on Friday night at U.S. Cellular Coliseum.
Wichita sscored in the first minute as Kevin Young struck a low drive from the right point just 45 seconds into the game.
Bloomington evened the game 7:30 into the first period when Jon Booras took a long pass and skated to the left post for a top shelf goal. Wichita converted its first power play with 5:04 left in the opening period with a tally by Ian Lowe, then added a score on its next man advantage when Chad Painchaud rifled a drive from the right point to give the guests a 3-1 lead.
The Blaze were given a 5-on-3 power play late in the period and Jesse Dudas whistled a drive from the slot to put the Blaze within one at 3-2 with 1:06 remaining in the first period.
Bloomington capitalized on another 5-on-3 as Booras whacked a shot at close range into an open right side of the net with 16:20 left in the second period. The Blaze continued on a five-minute power play by grabbing a 4-3 lead with its third straight goal when Nicholas Rioux blasted his first tally from the slot with 12:51 left in the middle chapter.
Wichita tied the contest with its third power play goal when Lowe shoved in a rebound at the right post with 12:17 remaining in regulation to tie the game at 4. The Blaze regained the lead at 5-4 with 10:44 left in the third on the first professional goal by Tyler Gron, assisted by Travis Granbois and Kyle Bochek. Matthew Larke sealed the victory with an empty net goal assisted by Booras with 36.4 seconds remaining.
Booras, playing in his 400th game in a Bloomington sweater, again led Blaze scorers with two goals and three assists to increase his scoring total to 10 points. Pier-Olivier Pelletier took the win in net with 42 saves while Torrie Jung sustained the loss with 25 saves. The Blaze improved to 2-1-0 while the Thunder fall to 1-2-0.
The Blaze and Thunder meet again tonight at 7:05 at U.S. Cellular Coliseum with a 6:45 pre-game on WJBC.com. Group and multi-game discount packages are available for all Blaze games. For more information, visit the Blaze online on Facebook, Twitter (BLMBlaze) and www.bloomingtonblaze.com, or call 309-434-2980.