When you’re up three goals with 9:28 to play, you hope to leave town with more than one point.
Not only do the Reign not get to leave town after squandering a late 6-3 lead, they lost 7-6 in overtime to the Alaska Aces on Friday night, their second straight in this three-game set. John Murray allowed seven goals on 34 shots, including the game-winner just 29 seconds into overtime. On a team with three goalies, Murray doesn’t seem to be playing his best hockey with Jeff Zatkoff eligible to come off injured reserve soon.
P.J. Atherton scored twice (his 4th and 5th), and Jon Rheault (8th), Jon Francisco (18th), Geoff Walker (13th), Chris Curran (5th) also scored for the Reign.
With the Reign enjoying an off-day in beautiful Anchorage (currently 20° and partly cloudy), it’s time to acknowledge the Alaska Aces seem to have the Reign’s number.
It didn’t seem to matter last night that the Reign were unbeaten in their previous five games; the Aces extended their own unbeaten streak to six. They’ve taken three of the teams’ four meetings, and in those four games have gone 7-for-19 on the power play while killing 17 of 18 chances against.
The Reign power play is struggling, too. They’ve got one goal in their past three games, a span of 13 man-advantage shifts.
Also, keep an eye on the roster over the next few days with Ryan MacGregor eligible to return from his head injury and Denny Johnston (wrist) also getting close. If my math is correct, they’ll need to move one player off the active roster to accomodate both MacGregor and Johnston.
The Reign drop Game 1 of a three-game set in Anchorage, a game in which they fell behind 3-0 and couldn’t recover despite taking just two penalties.
Jon Rheault notched his seventh goal of the season at 8:23 of the third period, but it was too little too late. Kellen Briggs stopped 30 of 33 shots in his first loss of the season.
David Walker and Tim Kraus had the only assists, meaning Todd Jackson and Itan Chavira’s four-game point streaks came to an end.
The game report can be found here.
Gane 2 is Friday night at Sullivan Arena.
The New York Fire Department-Ontario Fire Department game last Sunday (the final score to which I can’t remember) netted quite a bit of money for the Muscular Dystrophy Fund and the Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome Family Network.
From the official press release:
Fans with tickets for the night’s Reign vs. Grizzlies game were able to use the same ticket to gain admission to the charity match-up earlier in the afternoon. For every ticket purchased, the Ontario Reign donated $4 to the charities. The Reign also auctioned off a signed New York Fire Department jersey, sold game programs, and held a 50-50 raffle, with all proceeds going towards the charities, and bringing the grand total raised to $9,466.40.
In case you missed it, Karl Taylor and ECHL commissioner Brian McKenna discussed possible changes to the 2010 ECHL All-Star Game in Ontario in today’s editions:
When the ECHL All-Star Game comes to Ontario in January 2010, Reign coach Karl Taylor would like to see it count a little more than it does now.
Last Wednesday’s game in Reading, Pa. ended 11-5 in favor of the American Conference. The Eastern Conference won Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game, 12-11 in a shootout, and Taylor said plainly, “It’s not real hockey.”
“Make it mean something, put some incentives in there,” he said. “Make it very clear how you coach, how you plan it, sell it, position it to the players. That type of atmosphere would be great.
“I’m going to push hard to help try and change that.”
Change could be on the way already. ECHL commissioner Brian McKenna said Monday the league’s board of governors will consider possible incentives for winning the all-star game at its annual meeting this summer.
At last year’s meeting, McKenna said the idea of giving the winning conference home-ice advantage in the Kelly Cup finals was considered but rejected.
“If one conference or another were to win, but the regular-season points champion finishes, let’s say 20 points ahead of the conference champion from the other conference,” McKenna said, “it would be very difficult to explain to all the fans why that team didn’t get the advantage in the Kelly Cup finals.”
The rest of the story: http://www.sbsun.com/sports/ci_11562322
It was a tough night for the goaltenders … actually, they held their own just fine.
In an interesting footnote to Sunday’s Reign-Condors game, in which both teams wore the jerseys of their NHL affiliates (Kings and Ducks, respectively), the Reign easily earned the most money for charity when jerseys were auctioned off to fans after the game. The Reign fetched $30,975 in their auction (top bid: about $4,000 for Jon Francisco’s jersey; interestingly enough, Chris Curran came in second). They donated the earnings to San Antonio Hospital. The Condors’ auction raised $19,900 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kern County.
Call it a total weekend sweep.
The other interesting tidbit I got from practice today (that won’t be in tomorrow’s paper) was Taylor’s take on how they’ve been coping at left wing since Maxime Boisclair left the team, and Ryan MacGregor got injured. Three defensemen – Dan Knapp, Andrew Martens and Ryan Card (before he was traded) – all filled in there at some point.
Said Taylor: “We’ve been looking to fill that void to get that big offensive body. Marty did a great job at it. He almost did too good a job where I have to leave him up there. Knapper’s a good solid defensive guy, scored for us. When you have a selfless guy who works as hard as he had to learn the position, it rubs off on the whole team.”
But they’re getting MacGregor back on this road trip to Alaska. Denny Johnston, too, though he’s a natural center; we’ll see how Taylor uses him.
I asked Reign forward Itan Chavira today about the NHL skills competition over the weekend. Chavira is known for his trickery, which would easily have been on par with anything Saturday. That’s what I thought, at least.
Said Chavira: “(Anaheim’s Ryan) Getzlaf and (Montreal’s Alex) Kovalev probably had the most skill in that category, but to see (Washington’s Alex) Ovechkin win it was a downer. Everybody knows he’s a fan favorite. It’s the second year they’ve done this, I still haven’t seen anything that’s impressed me yet.”
Kellen Briggs made his season debut and made 36 saves. Tim Kraus scored twice, including the game-winner. They were Kraus’ first two goals since Jan. 2. Quite a breakthrough performance for both of them.
Itan Chavira also scored to extend his point streak to four straight games.
Both teams looked snazzy, if not different, in their NHL affiliate tribute jerseys. More in tomorrow’s editions.
Tim Kraus and Jon Rheault scored in the shootout (Itan Chavira didn’t shoot … hmm), making a winner out of goaltender John Murray, who stopped 6 of 7 in the shootout and 33 of 35 in regulation.
Todd Jackson’s 13th goal of the season 9:49 into the third period tied the game at 2, off assists from P.J. Atherton and Chavira, on a power play. Dave Knapp, playing at left wing tonight, also scored, an even-strength goal in the first off assists from Rheault and David Walker.
Not a lot of penalties, but a rematch tonight at 5 p.m. at the Bank. See you there…