12/29/2012 11:56:00 PM Sundogs 4, Bloomington 1 Sundogs snap losing streak with early outburst
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier Adam Smyth of the Sundogs lines a shot at the Bloomington goal Saturday night at Timís Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.
The Daily Courier
After losing nine out of their last 11 games, including seven straight at home, the Sundogs finally broke out of their funk Saturday night behind an offensive flurry in the opening period.
Arizona forward Ron Meyers of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada, scored two goals in the first 3-1/2 minutes of regulation as the hosts went on to grab a 3-0 lead in the first and eventually defeat the Bloomington (Ill.) Blaze, 4-1, at Tim's Toyota Center.
Skating in front of an announced crowd of 2,550, the Sundogs won at home for the first time in more than a month. Arizona's last victory at Tim's came in a 3-2 overtime shootout over the Allen (Texas) Americans Nov. 21.
The Sundogs (12-15-4 overall, 28 points; ninth place in the 10-team Berry Conference), which are the worst team on the man advantage in the Central Hockey League this season, went 2-for-4 on the power play Saturday.
With Arizona in front 2-0 in the first, Sundogs captain Jason Morgan connected on the power play via an assist from forward Derek LeBlanc with less than two minutes to go before the first intermission. Morgan finished the game with a goal and two assists.
Bloomington, which has the highest-scoring offense in the CHL, managed only one goal for the entire game in the second period.
Blaze forward Matthew Larke of Oxford, Mich., lit the lamp on the power play at the 14:22 mark thanks to helpers from Jon Booras and Nicklas Lindberg. Arizona's defense shut down Bloomington on the power play, as the visitors went just 1-for-10.
The Sundogs led 3-1 deep into the third period before the club's leading scorer, forward Chad Nehring put a ribbon on the victory with Arizona's second and final power play goal on assists from Chad Langlais and Morgan with less than three minutes remaining.
Arizona out-shot the Blaze 34-27 and took some pressure off goalie Adam Russo, who stopped 26-of-27 Bloomington shots. Russo's record improved to 6-5-3 with a goals against average of 2.99 and a .902 save percentage.
The Sundogs, who are now 7-6-2 at home, return to the ice Monday at Tim's when they close out their three-game series against the Blaze. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m.
Arizona, which is 5-9-2 on the road, will travel to Bloomington (16-12-1, 33 points; fifth place in the Berry) for a two-game set on Friday and Saturday.