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.
Goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, who had been on injured reserve, and center Bud Holloway, who had been in Manchester, both took part in the pregame skate for the Reign tonight at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
John Murray has been released from his pro tryout contract by the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch, and the goalie is once again property of the Reign. Here’s the full release from the Crunch Web site: http://www.syracusecrunch.com/News/Detail/2298
The Reign are back in first place.
Tim Kraus put in a rebound of a Chris Curran wraparound 90 seconds into overtime, bringing the Reign back within one point of first-place Vegas in the Pacific. A big game against Stockton looms tomorrow, and the Reign are heading north tonight.
Coach Matt Thomas, whose Stockton Thunder host the Ontario Reign on Sunday, gave some insights to NHL.com today about why his former team, the Fresno Falcons, folded operations on Dec. 22, 2008.
For the second straight week, the Reign will play a Saturday night home game desperately trying to forget a loss the night before. The second period was their achilles’ heel tonight, when the Condors turned a 2-2 game into a 5-2 game, essentially sealing the victory.
It’s another head-scratching loss, considering they outshot an opponent for the second straight game (once a rare occurence in these parts) yet still lost their third game in their last four.
Jon Rheault, Shawn Germain and P.J. Atherton scored the goals, and Kellen Briggs took the loss, stopping 24 of 29. Game stats here.
Terry Wheaton, a 42-year-old goaltender from Corona, must have impressed Karl Taylor enough during the team’s open tryouts back in September to earn a second shot. After practicing with the Reign yesterday, Wheaton will be the emergency backup goaltender to Kellen Briggs tonight in Bakersfield.
Reports out of Columbus, Ohio are that rookie goalie Steve Mason is set to return to the Blue Jackets for tomorrow’s big game against the Detroit Red Wings. Mason has been battling mononucleosis, while Dan LaCosta has been filling in admirably in his time up from Syracuse of the American Hockey League. The rookie stopped 59 of 61 shots in wins against San Jose and Colorado.
It won’t be enough to keep LaCosta from going back to Syracuse at some point, however. As for when, well, the Blue Jackets aren’t making things any easier on John Murray. Word out of New York is that the Reign netminder might remain with the Syracuse Crunch rather than fly back to California, because the Jackets are holding onto LaCosta until the last minute to make sure Mason is indeed healthy enough to play 60 minutes against Detroit tomorrow night. They might not assign LaCosta to Syracuse in time for their game tomorrow against the Grand Rapids Griffins (coincidentally, the Red Wings’ affiliate), in which case Murray stays in the AHL another day.
If John Murray indeed comes back to the Reign from the AHL any time soon, it will not be without any game experience.
Last night, Syracuse Crunch starter Spencer Dahm was assailed for four goal on his first 10 shots in the Crunch’s loss to the Toronto Marlies. Murray came on in relief and played the final 36 minutes, 45 seconds, allowing two goals on 13 shots – not amazing, but good enough to slow the damage and get a feel for the next level.
In other Reign alumni news, Dusty Collins played last night for the Manitoba Moose and the Sean Avery-led Hartford Wolf Pack. As expected, however, Avery didn’t play. Collins did, was held scoreless with one shot on net and a minus-1 rating for the game. In eight games with Manitoba, Collins has a goal and an assist.