Reign 5, Victoria 3.

In my first year covering the ECHL, and probably the first year watching the ECHL for a lot of Reign fans, it’s beginning to look like one of the streakiest leagues on the planet.

You might recall the Victoria Salmon Kings did not lose for 15 straight games spanning December and January, including a sweep of the Reign in British Columbia Jan. 9 and 10, a pair of 5-2 losses. Well, after that they were a measly 4-12 coming into Wednesday’s game; the Reign were getting hot, having won two straight (after losing three of four); and on Wednesday … the streakiness continued.

Among the positives for the Reign:

• Jeff Zatkoff returned from his groin injury and got the win (one of the goals was really no fault of his own);
• Bud Holloway, whom Karl Taylor picked up at the airport a night earlier upon reassignment from Manchester, scored a goal in his ECHL debut;
• Dale Reinhardt scored two goals off two Mike Howe assists;
• Las Vegas lost earlier in the day, so the Reign are in first place in the Pacific Division standings by two points with a game in hand on the Wranglers

The unintentional highlight: Lakewood native Travis Ramsey accidentally scooping the puck between his own goalie’s five-hole to give the Reign a 4-2 lead in the third period. “I just kinda looked down, scraped some ice away and all of a sudden people started cheering; I didn’t know what happened until they showed the replay,” said Zatkoff. The goal was credited to David Walker, the last Reign player to touch the puck (official scoresheet here).

Reinhardt’s contribution was notable in that he was sort of a “bubble guy” when Denny Johnston came back from Manchester. That is, if and when Itan Chavira, and possibly Ryan Bowness, were healthy, he might have been among the players on the bubble for getting traded or released. Reinhardt – and Howe, for that matter – seem to be playing their way off the bubble.

Still, some tough roster decisions lie ahead – especially at goalie, where John Murray is back in Ontario but might get squeezed out of the picture. More on this in my next post.

This entry was posted in Ontario Reign/ECHL by J.P. Hoornstra. Bookmark the permalink.

About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.
  • Tom Ingalls

    Minor league sports is just that, streaky. The chemistry for the most part changes almost on a weekly basis if not more often with promotions, demotions, new signings and releases with any given team. A GM’s nightmare! Enjoy the Reign’s ride on the crest of the wave while it lasts. I am, and I wish them the best going into the playoffs and beyond.

    As for Murray, this was his story for the better part of the season. If Taylor is allowed to do it, he ought to keep 3 goalies the rest of the way out so to not have to rely on an emergency signing. Unless something drastic doesn’t happen with the Kings goaltending stable, Zats will probably see the most playing time from here on out with us barring more groin injuries. Murray played well. He’s earned at least an insurance position here.

  • Murray had the better stats….hands down.Taylor made the wrong choice…he’ll soon realize it