Bloomington Blaze forward Kyle Bochek celebrates after scoring in the Blaze's 3-1 loss to the Denver Cutthroats on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at Denver Coliseum. (Photo by Hector Acevedo)
By Greg Halbleib
DENVER - The Bloomington Blaze dropped a hard-fought 3-1 decision to the Denver Cutthroats on Saturday night at Denver Coliseum.
The Cutthroats were handed a controversial 5-on-3 power play late in the first period on a disputed goaltender interference call coupled with a bench minor for arguing it, and scored with 2:23 left in the opening period on a Luke Fulghum rebound goal, which led to the ejection of Blaze coach Brian Gratz at the beginning of the first intermission with Denver leading 1-0.
With Blaze team president David Holt and injured forward Matthew Larke moving behind the Blaze bench to start the second period, Denver increased the lead to 2-0 with 13:50 left in the second period on a long tic-tac-toe from Brad Smyth and A.J. Gale to Troy Schwab, who scored on the glove side. The Blaze used a tic-tac-toe of their own with 6:47 left in the middle chapter when Kyle Bochek converted feeds from Steve Makway and Travis Granbois to cut the deficit to 2-1. The Cutthroats sealed the win with an empty net goal in the final minute.
The Cutthroats were 1-for-7 on the power play while the Blaze were 0-for-4. Each goaltender made 32 saves as Kieran Millan earned the win and Pier-Olivier Pelletier took the loss.
The Blaze conclude the six-game stretch away from home on Friday at Quad City before returning home on Saturday to complete a home-and-home set with the Mallards. Saturday's 7:05 p.m. face-off at U.S. Cellular Coliseum is part of American Heart Association Night sponsored by OSF St. Joseph Medical Center. Fans who wear red will get in for only $10 and the Blaze will wear special jerseys that will be auctioned after the game.
Junior Blaze home: The Junior Blaze return to action with games on Sunday at 11 a.m. and Monday at 3 p.m. at U.S. Cellular Coliseum against the Holland River Bandits. Admission is $5.