Bellingham Blaze on Hot Streak

by Charles Woodall-Pike

In the three-team dogfight for second place in the Northwest Division, the Bellingham Blazers are starting to make their move for that spot. Entering Presidents’ Day weekend, the Blazers have strung together six straight wins and sit just six points behind the Lake Tahoe Icemen with four games in hand. Despite hitting a few slumps in the first half of the season, Bellingham is starting to heat up at the right time as the playoffs draw near.

Bellingham’s offense has been giving them the biggest boost during their second half run. During their six-game winning streak, the Blazers have outscored opponents 34-17, including scoring at least five goals in five of the six contests. In four of those six games, Bellingham had a player record a hat trick. Ruslan Novruzov got three goals in West Sound on Jan. 26, Robbie Eichelberger scored three goals in Seattle on Jan. 28, and Ilya Abubakirov notched hat tricks in back-to-back home games against Seattle (Feb. 9) and West Sound (Feb. 10).

In the last five games, the Blazers have yielded no more than three goals in each contest. Bellingham has gotten great goaltending from not just one goalie but a trio of netminders. Edward Coffey, Avery Heath and Kolter Pawlick have combined for a .904 save percentage and a 2.40 GAA over the last five games. In the five games before this stretch, where the Blazers went 1-4-0, Bellingham had conceded 39 goals and the three goaltenders combined for a save percentage of .811 and a 7.61 GAA. If Bellingham can keep up this combination of offense and goaltending, they will blaze a path to the Northwest’s second seed.