Hector Acevedo/Denver Cutthroats
After a month-long absence, the Denver Cutthroats return home with back-to-back wins over the Bloomington Blaze, culminating in a dominating game Saturday night.
Scoring was across the board for Denver as Troy Schwab, Luke Fulghum and Chris Greene got the three goals to secure the win over Bloomington. Fulghum got the scoring started at 17:37 in the first by knocking in a rebound during the second of consecutive 5-on-3 power plays.
Just over 6 minutes into the second, Schwab got the eventual game-winner by tipping in a centering pass by AJ Gale. Gale recorded his 61st point of the season with the assist, putting him tied for first in league scoring. With 6:47 left in the middle frame, Bloomington's Kyle Bochek put the Blaze on the board, but Denver's Greene finished out the scoring with an empty-netter in the waning seconds of the third. Goaltender Kieran Millan stopped 33 of 34 shots for his 11th win this season.
The big story of the night was penalties, though. In all, the two teams took a total of 20 penalties for 60 minutes. Former Cutthroat Steve Makway ended the night with 16 penalty minutes: 2 fighting majors, 2 roughing minors and 1 more for elbowing. (In comparison, the Cutthroats received 18 minutes combined.) His angst toward the team was fairly spread out although Andrew Coles seemed to get the brunt of it with some cheap shots throughout all three periods. By the end of the night, Makway was greeted with boos echoing off the Fish Bowl walls every time he touched the puck.
Makway wasn't the only one on the Blaze who lost his cool. In the final minutes of the first period, Bloomington was assessed a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct. Head coach Brian Gratz took issue with the refs over what he deemed poor officiating. At the buzzer, he apparently took things a step further, resulting in another two minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct as well as a game misconduct.
The game settled down as each period passed, but the frustrated and undisciplined play of Bloomington was their undoing from the first puck drop. Back-to-back games of being owned will do that to you, I suppose.
The Cutthroats are back in action at the Fish Bowl on Tuesday as they welcome the Arizona Sundogs. Game starts at 7:05 pm.
1. Troy Schwab
2. AJ Gale
3. Kieran Millan