Blaze forward Matthew Larke (center) splits two Mavericks defenders in a 5-4 loss at Missouri on Saturday, December 15, 2012 at Independence Events Center. (Photo courtesy Missouri Mavericks)
By Greg Halbleib
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - The Bloomington Blaze battled from a three-goal deficit but dropped a 5-4 decision to the Missouri Mavericks on Saturday night at the Independence Events Center.
The Mavericks opened the scoring with 7:29 left in the first period on a rebound goal from Ryan Jardine off assists from Kellan Tochkin and Andrew Courtney. The Blaze tied the game with 3:48 left in the first shortly into a power play on a Sebastien Trudeau drive from the left circle assisted by Aaron Dawson and Nicholas Rioux. The Mavericks were given a power play with just six seconds left in the opening period and converted on a goal by Podge Turnbull in a flurry at the net with only one second remaining to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
Brandon Smith scored with 17:17 left in the second period with assists by Tochkin and David Simoes to increase the Missouri lead to 3-1. The Mavs pushed the advantage to 4-1 with Evan Vossen's breakaway goal on assists from Jeff Pierce and Kenton Miller with 9:15 left in the middle period. The Blaze converted a 5-on-3 power play with a tip-in by Ryan Palmer, assisted by Jon Booras and Steve Makway, with 3:37 left in the second period to cut the margin to 4-2.
The Blaze cut the deficit to 4-3 with 16:54 remaining in regulation on a wrister from the left point by Michael Trebish for his first professional goal, assisted by Travis Granbois and Kyle Bochek. Missouri used their sixth power play of the night to increase the lead back to 5-3 with 11:04 remaining with John-Scott Dickson's tally with assists to Tochkin and Pierce. The Blaze emptied the net for most of the final two minutes and were given a power play for the final 43 seconds as Steve Makway found the net with 15.6 seconds remaining on assists from Kyle Bochek and Matthew Larke for the final score.
Pier-Olivier Pelletier suffered the loss in goal with 28 saves while Mike Clemente earned the win with 31 stops. Each team was given seven power plays with Missouri converting twice and the Blaze scoring three times.
The Blaze return to Bloomington on Sunday for a rematch with the Mavericks. Face-off is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. preceded by a Junior Blaze game against Tennyson Chevrolet at 11 a.m. at U.S. Cellular Coliseum. Admission to the Junior Blaze game is included in the Blaze ticket. Sunday is a Casey's 8 Gallons Day, in which fans who buy eight gallons of gasoline at any area Casey's General Store receive a voucher to buy a discounted $8 ticket for Sunday's game. Updates on the Blaze can be found on Facebook, Twitter (BLMBlaze) and www.bloomingtonblaze.com, and more information is available by calling 309-TC SPORT (827-7678).