It’s pure speculation at this point, but the groin injury suffered Monday night by Kings goalie Erik Ersberg could have a ripple effect on the Reign. Jon Quick got called up from AHL affiliate Manchester on Tuesday, leaving the Monarchs with an empty spot in goal behind Jonathan Bernier.
Next time you see Chris Curran, make it a point to joke that the Reign should start all their games at midnight.
The center hadn’t scored all season before the wee hours of Tuesday morning, when he scored the lone goal in a 1-0 Reign win over the Las Vegas Wranglers. The game started at 11:59 p.m. Monday and finished around 2:20 Tuesday morning before a paid crowd of 5,101 at the Orleans Arena. It’s the sixth straight year the Wranglers have hosted a midnight game, but the first time the Reign have played an official game at such an ungodly hour.
Curran hit jackpot 1:24 into the second period. The goal came about a week after he shaved his moustache — go ahead and joke about that too — and came off a Geoff Walker assist. Jeff Zatkoff got the start and made 35 saves, the first shutout of his professional career and the second ever for the Reign, who were outshot 35-20.
Second-place Ontario gained some separation on third-place Las Vegas despite suiting up just 13 skaters (9 forwards, 4 defensemen). That’s two fewer than Vegas skated and three above the ECHL minimum. No telling when they got into town; the team bus had to re-route through Arizona because of snowfall along I-15 Monday morning.
More good news: The Reign get four days off before their next game, on Friday in Vegas.
If you include the preseason, Andrew Martens scored the first goal in Ontario Reign history. So you should remember him. He was only promoted to the Manitoba Moose on Monday, and in his first AHL game the defenseman recorded three assists in a 4-2 Moose victory on Friday night.
Reign coach Karl Taylor said earlier this week that Martens would have a chance to stick at the AHL level, and Martens appears to be taking advantage of it early. Check out this story from the Winnipeg Sun.
Any Reign fans wondering who will take the place of the recently-promoted Jon Rheault and Andrew Martens won’t have to look far. There were no new players in practice Friday; coach Karl Taylor said “it’s possible” he could sign a player Saturday morning, but that didn’t sound like the most likely scenario.
Unless something changes, expect Ryan MacGregor to come off 3-day IR and step in at forward. Defenseman Dan Knapp (on 7-day IR with a bum shoulder) is 50-50 to play tomorrow night against Fresno, and Taylor might just rotate five defensemen if Knapp can’t go.
More in tomorrow’s editions.
It looks like Teddy Purcell’s NHL call-up is rippling down to the Reign. Jon Rheault is going to the Manchester Monarchs, three days after defenseman Andrew Martens was called up by the Manitoba Moose.
For Rheault, it will be his second stint at the AHL level this season. He started in Manchester and scored one goal in seven games before he was sent to Ontario. In 16 games with the Reign, Rheault had five goals and 14 points.
This doesn’t necessarily mean anything for the Reign yet … BUT it’s worth noting that the Kings called up forward Teddy Purcell from the AHL Manchester Monarchs earlier today. That means there is a roster spot to fill at the next level of the Kings’ system, the usual precursor to a promotion for an ECHL player. Keep your eye on this one.
And just in case you missed it, Andrew Martens was promoted earlier today.
Reign defenseman David Walker, who had been partnered with Andrew Martens most of this season, offered some interesting thoughts on his recently-departed mate…
It’s official: Defenseman Andrew Martens today became the first Reign player called up to the AHL (if you exclude Jon Rheault, Ryan Card and Denny Johnston, who are all under contract to the Reign but started the season in Manchester). But Martens isn’t going to Manchester.
He’ll report to the Manitoba Moose, the Vancouver Canucks’ affiliate. Not coincidentally, the Reign just finished a two-game set at home against the Canucks’ ECHL affiliate, the Victoria Salmon Kings. Presumably the Vancouver/Manitoba brass liked what they saw from Martens, more than what they saw from their own guys playing for the Salmon Kings.
What does this mean for the Reign? For Martens? More in tomorrow’s editions…
If you’ve been following the Ontario Reign lately, you’ve also been following the Stockton Thunder lately. The two teams have played each other five times in the last month — a span of just 12 games for the Reign.
So you’ve seen plenty of Cory Urquhart, Ryan Huddy and Stephane Goulet. The trio of Thunder combined for four goals and four assists in those five games, but now they’re gone. All have been called up to the Edmonton Oilers’ American Hockey League affiliate within the last week. It’s nightmarish timing for an ECHL team; as Karl Taylor once told me “an AHL team can take all 20 of my players right now if they want to.”
Well, an AHL team just took three of Stockton’s better players … good news for Reign fans.
The Ontario Reign are giving the gift of two-wheeled, non-combustion-powered locomotion this December. In other words, it’s a bike drive (ride?) for the Inland Empire’s underprivileged children.
Your used bicycle, however, will not do. For convenience’s sake, monetary donations can be made online here. A donation of $100 is worth one bicycle and four tickets to a Reign game. Donors also get four tickets to a Reign home game in return. The drive runs through Friday.