The only thing more perfect than the sunset over the Inland Empire on Friday was the Reign power play. The Reign (2-1) converted on all five of their power-play chances, and got goals from six different players, in a 7-1 blowout victory over the Stockton Thunder before 5,805 in Stockton Arena.
Tony Voce came off injured reserve to score two goals; Adam Henrich and Jon Rheault had a goal and two assists each; and Curtis Darling picked up his second victory of the season, stopping 30 of 31 shots. The Reign knocked out their opponent’s starting goalie for the second straight game, sending Bryan Pitton to the home bench after one period and three goals. Andrew Perugini came on to stop 10 of 14 shots over the final two periods.
The Reign also proved adept down a man, successfully killing six of seven Thunder power plays. Stockton is 0-4 to start the season after eliminating the Reign in the first round of last season’s playoffs.
Forward Greg Hogeboom scored his fourth goal of the season, and defensemen Shawn Germain and Andrew Martens scored their first for the Reign. Captain Jon Francisco added two assists, and Hogeboom, Peter Lenes, Dwight King, Tim Kraus and David Walker added one. The game also featured penalties assessed for five separate fights, two involving Reign enforcer James McEwan, and Michael Pelech, King and Walker in the others.
More details in tomorrow’s editions and, in case you missed it, here is my feature about the Reign’s captains and alternate captains this season that appeared in the paper Friday.