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By Steve Carpenter Tuesday 18 December 2012 Updated: 18/12 16:07
AN INURY to British Forward Sam Smith overshadowed Saturday's 6-3 victory victory over Fife Flyers in the Elite League.
Mike Bayrack marked his return to Paul Thompson's line-up by producing a man-of-the-match performance after helping himself to a hat-trick.
Bayrack had missed the last 14 games through injury but came back in style as Blaze finally shook off a determined Flyers side to move within just one point off fourth-placed Cardiff Devils.
And although Thompson praised Bayrack's impact, he confirmed after the game Smith had suffered a knee ligament injury and is facing a spell on the sidelines.
"Sam Smith damaged his knee ligaments but Josh Bruce stepped in and had a really good game," said Thompson.
"Mike is a natural goalscorer, he is a 30-goal-a-season scorer and we have been missing another offensive guy. It is great to have him back.
"We have not seen the best of him yet. Mike came in six weeks late and then played through an injury before having nearly seven weeks out.
"Bayrack centred two young kids in Bruce and Dale White and they did the business for us, that line was very strong."
Dustin Cameron put Blaze ahead with just five seconds of the first period left before Bobby Chaumont levelled on 23 minutes.
Goals from Bayrack and Brad Leeb opened up a 3-1 cushion for Blaze only for Jason Pitton to pull Flyers back to one.
Kris Hogg then tied the game at 3-3 but Bayrack struck twice more to complete his hat-trick and captain Shea Guthrie rounded off the scoring late on to ensure a first win in three matches for Blaze.
Thompson added: "We gave up a couple of sloppy goals to let them back in it but we came up with a big third period and Mike Bayrack came up with a big hat-trick."
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