Ice Hockey
Matt Beleskey leaves Blaze on a high

By Steve Carpenter Wednesday 02 January 2013 Updated: 02/01 15:05

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Buy photos » Matt Beleskey scored twice against Sheffield Steelers. (s) Photo by Mark Tredgold.

NATIONAL Hockey League (NHL) star Matt Beleskey marked his final game for Blaze with the game-winning goal in a 5-3 victory over Sheffield Steelers at the Skydome on New Year's Day.

Beleskey returns to Anaheim Ducks with the NHL finally poised to get under way later this month following its suspension over financial agreements.

The 24-year-old joined Blaze at the beginning of October and signed off in perfect style as his penalty shot proved the winner before he netted again with 53 seconds left to guide Blaze to victory.

“It was a fantastic finish for Matt,” said coach Paul Thompson.

“I thought he was outstanding but so were the team and that was epitomised by Brad Leeb, our top goalscorer, blocking a shot with his head in the final minute.

“Matt has been a model professional, he is a great guy and he is so committed. We all knew this day was going to come.

“We are not the NHL but he has bought into everything and has never once complained or asked for anything.

“We have been very lucky to attract a player of his ability and we all hope he goes on to have a glorious NHL career.

“I think there will be a few more fans of the Ducks now and all of us will be looking closely to see how he does."

Five goals were scored in a crazy eight-minute spell and all inside 11 minutes.

Ross Venus put Blaze in front only for Steelers to hit back through Tylor Michel, Lee Esders and Jeff Legue.

Brad Leeb reduced the arrears to leave Blaze 3-2 down after 11 minutes but Dustin Cameron tied it up just after the half-hour mark with his fifth goal in four games.

Fittingly, Beleskey nudged Blaze back in front with a penalty shot in the 40th minute and then scored his second to secure Blaze's second win in six games.

Up next for Blaze is a double header against Nottingham Panthers this weekend, which begins with a trip to the East Midlands on Saturday.

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