Blogging live from the only cold building in Bakersfield, Rabobank Arena, the first period of the Ontario Reign’s inaugural season is in the books.
New guy Geoff Walker fed Andrew Martens for a power-play goal with 1:04 left to tie the game 1-1. Unless you count the preseason, it’s the first goal in franchise history. (Martens also scored the Reign’s first preseason goal, so either way he’s your trivia answer.)
The Reign were dominant in most stats; they’re actually outshooting Bakersfield 13-6. They were outshooting the Condors 5-0 when Bakersfield defenseman Tyler Scott ripped a slapshot toward the net, it caught a piece of Matt Caruana’s stick, and floated over the right shoulder of Jeff Zatkoff to make it 1-0.
The game has already had a goal waved off; the Condors almost scored short-handed on the same power play that produced Martens’ goal. The red light and horn and fans all went off, but the refs reviewed it and concluded the Bakersfield skater (I couldn’t catch who) batted the puck down and into the goal.
The Reign have also wasted no time getting into the “fight column” – Ryan Bowness and Liam Huculak traded a few quick punches before Bowness sent Huculak to the ice.
Also of note:
• There are at least four mascots in the building right now. I see a Condor, a chicken and a monkey on the ice right now – go figure – and before the game started, the Ducks’ mascot, Wild Wing, rappelled down from the catwalks. Like he always does.
• There is at least one former NHL goalie in the building – Kings goaltending coach Bill Ranford – and one current NHL general manager, Brian Burke, who joined Ducks owner rep Jillian Samueli in dropping the ceremonial first puck.
• Today also marks the debut of the Reign’s road uniforms, midnight blue jersey and pants with orange trim and white numbers. They look good.
• Karl Taylor’s opening-period forward combinations and defensive pairings:
Curran, Francisco, Jackson