The playoffs will have to wait again, as the Roadrunners scored the game’s final four goals and spoiled Linden Rowat’s Reign debut.
The stars were aligned quite well for a celebration: The Reign were wearing special camouflaged uniforms in honor of Military Appreciation Night; it was Jon Francisco’s 200th professional game; the announced attendance of 9,644 was 15 shy of a CBBA record; and, just for good measure, it was Karl Taylor bobblehead night.
More than that, the Reign came out looking motivated to win one for Rowat. They outshot Phoenix 13-2 through the game’s first 15 minutes, and only a fine effort by former NHL netminder Chris Beckford-Tseu (who had to switch helmets at midgame) kept the game scoreless through one period.
Bud Holloway and Mike Howe took advantage of a pair of rebounds early in the second to give the Reign a 2-0 lead. But the game seemed to turn just before intermission, when a “non-call” on a collision that sent Jon Francisco to his knees, bleeding, led to a Roadrunners goal with 13.9 left. The Roadrunners went on to score three more in the final period, when the Reign were a frustrating 0-for-3 on the power play and allowed a short-handed goal with 4:20 left.
More details in tomorrow’s editions; official scoresheet is here.