Blaze forward Nicklas Lindberg celebrates one of his two goals in a 6-4 win over the Denver Cutthroats on Friday, January 18, 2013 at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Ill. (Photo by Jacob Blome)
By Greg Halbleib
BLOOMINGTON - The Bloomington Blaze scored a franchise-best five goals in the second period on the way to a 6-4 win over the Denver Cutthroats on Friday night at U.S. Cellular Coliseum.
The Cutthroats struck first with a power play goal with 13:43 remaining from Jean-Philipp Chabot when he caught a deflected pass and converted it near the left post. The Blaze evened the game with a Nicklas Lindberg tally that clanged in off the left post with 8:44 left in the opening period on feeds from Jon Booras and Matthew Larke.
The Blaze put three goals on the board within 1:35 early in the second period. Larke gave the Blaze a 2-1 lead with a power play goal with 13:40 left by racing through open ice on the right wing and backhanding a goal stickside with assists from Lindberg and goalie Pier-Olivier Pelletier. Just 38 seconds later, Matt Puntereri scored his first goal with the Blaze in his initial game with the team on assists from Travis Granbois and Kyle Bochek, and Lindberg made it 4-1 with 12:05 left on an unassisted tally from the right wing. Dan Barczuk built the lead to 5-1 as he knocked home a rebound after Granbois was stuffed on a breakaway after exiting the penalty box with 2:31 left, then Jared Walker completed a 3-on-2 rush with a goal from the bottom of the right circle with 1:24 remaining to send the Blaze into the second intermission with a 6-1 lead.
Denver cut the margin to 6-2 on an A.J. Gale wrist shot from the slot with 16:28 left in regulation. Denver made the game even more interesting with two fast goals 6-3 with 8:38 left on a wrister from the high slot by Ben Wilson on assists by Gale and Schwab, and 21 seconds later Gale powered in a rush on net with assists from Schwab and Chris Greene to slice the Blaze lead to 6-4.
Pelletier earned the win in goal with 15 saves while starting Cutthroats netminder Kent Patterson took the loss with 26 saves. The Blaze outshot the Cutthroats 41-19.
The Blaze host the Fort Worth Brahmas on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. during an active day at U.S. Cellular Coliseum. After the Blaze game, popular local band Brushfire will perform an hour-long concert. Earlier on Saturday, Illinois State University hockey plays at noon followed by the Junior Blaze rematch with the Holland River Bandits at 3:30. Admission to the Junior Blaze and Blaze games and the Brushfire concert are included in the game ticket. The Blaze then conclude the three-game homestand with a rematch with the Denver Cutthroats on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.
Junior Blaze rob Bandits: The Junior Blaze earned a 4-2 win over the Holland River Bandits in Midwest Junior Hockey League play on Friday afternoon. Joe Clemente, Patrick Anaruk and Matt Donley all scored for Bloomington while Gavin Carlson earned the win in goal.