Nicholas Rioux (left), Nicklas Lindberg (center) and Matthew Larke (right) celebrate a goal as the Bloomington Blaze defeat the Quad CIty Mallards 5-4 in an 11-round shootout on Friday, November 2, 2012 at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Ill. (Photo by Jakob Blome)
BLOOMINGTON - The Bloomington Blaze, fueled by Mid-Illini Credit Union, fought back from a two-goal deficit and defeated the Quad City Mallards 5-4 after an 11-round shootout on Friday night at U.S. Cellular Coliseum. The win is Bloomington's fourth straight, a franchise record.
The Mallards opened the scoring with 9:06 remaining when Obi Aduba converted a pass near the left post, with assists given to Jason Dixon and Patrick Levesque. The Flock made it 2-0 with a power play goal by Levesque with 3:10 left in the first period assisted by Dixon and Darren McMillan.
Bloomington lit the lamp three straight times to take a 3-2 lead after two periods. The Blaze got on the board with 13:07 left in the second period when David Gilbert whacked a rebound in at the right post assisted by Tyler Gron and Michael Trebish. The Blaze tied the game at 10:01 of the middle period when Tyler Gron powered a shot from the right circle with assists given to Jesse Dudas and David Gilbert. Dudas gave the Blaze the lead with 24.7 seconds left in the second period on a blast from the slot on a 5-on-3 power play assisted by Gilbert and Nicklas Lindberg to put the Blaze ahead 3-2 at the second intermission.
Quad City evened the game at 3-3 with 16:42 left in the third on a power play goal by McMillan assisted by Derek Matheson and Mickey Lang. The Blaze regained the lead when Sebastien Trudeau put back a shot by David Gilbert with 13:02 remaining in regulation. The Mallards tied the game with 1:22 left when Levesque rapped a loose puck in from the right side after the Flock had emptied the net.
After a scoreless overtime, the Blaze fought to keep the shootout alive while trailing 1-0 after a second-round goal by Mike Stinziani as Steve Makway kept the Blaze in the contest with a fifth-round tally. Gilbert scored in the sixth round to give the Blaze a brief lead, but Jeremy Moyer kept the Mallards alive with a goal in that round. Neither side reached the back of the net until the 11th round when Trudeau deked and rolled the puck inside the left post to give the Blaze the victory.
Dan Dunn earned the win in net in his Blaze debut with 25 saves and nine shootout stops. John Murray took the loss with 36 saves. The Mallards were 2-of-4 on the power play while the Blaze were 1-of-5.
The Blaze face the Mallards twice more this weekend in Bloomington's first road games of the season with face-offs scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Saturday and 4:05 p.m. Sunday at iWireless Center in Moline. The games can be heard on WJBC.com and CHL-TV, and fans are invited to watch the games at Gill Street Sports Bar and Restaurant, 3002 Gill Street in Bloomington west of Airport Road. The Blaze then travel to Independence, Missouri next Friday and Saturday before returning home on Tuesday, November 13 at 7:05 p.m. to face the Allen Americans. For more information on the Blaze, call 309-434-2980, like the team on Facebook, follow on Twitter (BLMBlaze) or visit www.bloomingtonblaze.com.
Junior Blaze fall: The Junior Blaze fell to 7-3-0 in an 8-2 loss at home to the first-place Hartland Hounds on Friday afternoon. The Hounds scored the game's first five goals in the opening 24 minutes. Kyler Schmor lit the lamp both times for Bloomington. The Hounds improve to 17-0-0, and face the Junior Blaze in an 11 a.m. Sunday rematch at U.S. Cellular Coliseum.