THIS WEEK’S GAMES:
Tuesday, January 3, 7:05 p.m.—vs. Fort Wayne Komets, U.S. Cellular Coliseum
(Two for Tuesday—2 bowl tix for $14, $2 Pepsi, hotdogs, popcorn)
Friday, January 6, 7:05 p.m.—vs. Evansville IceMen, U.S. Cellular Coliseum
(Pepsi Date Night—bring Pepsi product to box office, receive second ticket free, BOGO combo meals)
Saturday, January 7, 7:05 p.m.—vs. Evansville IceMen, U.S. Cellular Coliseum
(Guns and Hoses—special jersey auction after game, first 1,200 fans receive T-shirts courtesy Mid-Illini Credit Union and B-104)
Sunday, January 8, 7:15 p.m.—at Evansville IceMen, Ford Center
The Bloomington Blaze, presented by Mid-Illini Credit Union, continue a bruising stretch of eight games in 13 days before the Central Hockey League All-Star Game with four games in the first week of 2012.
RECENTLY: A Blaze two-game winning streak ended on Tuesday at Fort Wayne in a 4-3 loss, in which the Komets scored their goals in the first 23:27. The Blaze charged back with three straight lamp-lighters but could not find the tying goal despite a four-minute power play in the third period and an extra attacker in the final minute. Blaze lamp-lighters were Jordy Trottier (his first professional goal), Kyle Laughlin and Luke Popko. The Blaze bounced back with their second road win of the season on Thursday night, a 5-3 triumph over the Dayton Gems, behind a hat trick and an assist from defenseman Omar Pacha, who registered six points during the week’s three games, adding two assists on Tuesday night. Other Thursday goals were recorded by Jon Booras and Kyle Laughlin. Back home in front of the largest U.S. Cellular Coliseum crowd of the season (3,518), the Missouri Mavericks scored twice in the first period and added a late empty-net goal for a 3-0 win. The Blaze then encountered yet another battle with the CHL-leading Fort Wayne Komets, but fell short 2-1 on New Year’s Eve, as Vladimir Nikiforov registered the only Blaze goal.
M*A*S*H REPORT: Two Blaze forwards remain on the 10-day injured reserve list to begin the week, Brodie Sheahan (upper-body injury) and Jordy Trottier (illness). Sheahan leads the Blaze in assists (17) and is second in scoring (24 points).
HEY THERE, YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR: Defenseman Aaron Dawson has been named as a reserve to the Central Hockey League All-Star squad for the January 11 contest in Prescott Valley, Arizona. Dawson has seven goals with six assists for 13 points, and he is fourth in the league in goals by defensemen. He’ll be joined in Arizona for the event by Blaze voice Greg Halbleib, who will call the action on CHL-TV with Tommy Daniels of Allen.
FUTURE’S SO BRIGHT, HE’S GOTTA WEAR OAKLEYS: Zane Kalemba was last week’s CHL Oakley Goaltender of the Week after picking up both wins in net, stopping 55 of the 58 shots he faced.
TRADING PLACES: On Tuesday, the Blaze received goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson from the Missouri Mavericks for future considerations. This is Mahoney-Wilson’s first professional season, in which he has played four games with the Allen Americans before his five games with the Mavericks. In those nine games, he was 5-3-0 with a 2.78 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage. He played four collegiate years at Lake Superior State University. Mahoney-Wilson made his first start on Saturday at Fort Wayne, sustaining the loss despite making 33 saves. The Blaze waived goalie Mark Sibbald on Friday; he did not record a decision in two appearances with the Blaze with a 1.11 goals-against average and a .960 save percentage.
FIRING UP: Jon Booras continues to lead the Blaze in goals (14) and scoring (30 points), but he has earned a point in 11 of the last 15 games and 17 of the last 22. Vladimir Nikiforov has picked up a point in 13 of his 16 games with the Blaze…Booras and Nikiforov lead the Blaze with three game-winning goals. Aaron Dawson is fourth among CHL blue-liners with seven goals.
Follow the Blaze on Twitter (BLMBlaze), like us on Facebook, check www.bloomingtonblaze.com for team information or call 309-434-2980.