1/4/2013 10:51:00 PM Sundogs continue hot streak vs. Blaze Offense still leading way in third straight win
Jacob Blome/Courtesy Jason Morgan of the Sundogs, right, looks for room past Jay Barriball Friday night at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Ill. The two teams play again tonight.
The Daily Courier
The Sundogs sure wouldn't mind playing the Bloomington (Ill.) Blaze at least a few more times this season.
After defeating the Blaze 4-2 Friday night in Illinois, Arizona has now won three straight - all against Bloomington - with the final meeting of 2012-13 between the two Central Hockey League (CHL) teams scheduled for Saturday at US Cellular Coliseum.
With the victory, the Sundogs matched their campaign-high three-game winning streak on Nov. 7, 9 and 10 versus the expansion Denver Cutthroats at Tim's Toyota Center.
One thing both winning runs have in common is that Arizona's offense caught fire. In the three wins vs. the Cutthroats and the trio of victories vs. the Blaze, the Sundogs scored a combined 16 goals in each.
Arizona owns a 3-1 record against the Blaze and is shooting for a season-high fourth consecutive win tonight. The Sundogs are in eighth place in the Berry Conference with a 14-15-4 overall mark (32 points), one point behind Bloomington (16-14-1).
Despite being out-shot 41-18 on Friday, the Sundogs picked apart the Bloomington defense, which has surrendered 113 goals in 31 games - the second-most allowed in the CHL this winter.
Arizona built a 4-0 lead by the second intermission. Forwards Jake Hauswirth, Jason Morgan and Derek LeBlanc each scored a goal in the first period. Hauswirth and Morgan lit the lamp within the first 3-1/2 minutes of regulation.
Sundogs forward Jeff Kyrzakos added the fourth goal at the 17:20 mark of the second on assists from Matt Tassone and Chad Nehring, who finished the night with two helpers.
Nehring is currently in a four-way tie for 12th place among the CHL's scoring leaders with 33 points (18 goals, 15 assists) and a plus/minus rating of +7.
Bloomington attempted a late rally, netting two power-play goals in the third from Jon Booras - the league's second-highest scorer - and Tyler Gron, respectively. Booras scored 21 seconds into the third, but Gron didn't connect until the final minute of regulation.
Arizona goalie Adam Russo picked up the victory after stopping 39-of-41 Blaze shots. He now owns a 7-5-3 record with a 2.93 goals against average and a .906 save percentage.
Following Saturday night's game in Bloomington, the Sundogs will head to the Quad City (Ill.) Mallards (ninth place, 14-15-3) for a contest on Tuesday night. Arizona won't return home until next Friday when it plays host to the Cutthroats at 7:05 p.m.