Stockton coach explains his 0-3 record.

The Reign will play the Stockton Thunder tomorrow and Saturday, a rematch of last season’s first-round playoff series that saw the Reign fall in seven games.

One look at the standings tells you which team is off to the better start, but Stockton coach Matt Thomas offered the Stockton Record one reason why his team is 0-3.

“I made a mistake,” Thomas said. “On the first night (of the preseason), a lot of the players I needed to make decisions on didn’t show me anything, so I really wanted to get a better look at those guys.

“But there were a few I knew weren’t going to make the team in that second game and I should have just sat some of them out. … I was waiting to see, but waiting to see might have cost us.”

A total of 10 players are back from the Thunder’s 2009 playoff roster: Four forwards (Craig Valette, James Bates, Judd Blackwater, Garet Hunt), four defensemen (Matt O’Dette, Daryl Marcoux, Ryan Constant, Jordan Bendfield) and goalies Bryan Pitton and Andrew Perugini.

Reign 8, Bakersfield 2

In a resounding response to their opening-night shutout loss, the Reign exploded for eight goals from five different players, and chased the Bakersfield Condors’ starting goalie in an 8-2 win at Rabobank Arena.

Greg Hogeboom notched a hat trick and added an assist; Adam Henrich had two goals and an assist, Tim Kraus had four assists and Curtis Darling stopped 34-of-36 shots in his first appearance between the pipes. The Reign were outshot 36-24 but still chased Bakersfield starter Timo Pielmeier, who stopped just 12-of-19 shots.

Mike Egener scored on Justin Pogge, last night’s starter, in the third period, and Peter Lenes and Jon Rheault also scored for the Reign (1-1).

A disciplined Reign squad needed only to kill three penalties, while taking advantage of 3-of-10 power-play opportunities in the win.

More details in tomorrow’s editions.

Bakersfield 5, Reign 0.

Not much good news in Bakersfield (unless you’re a big fan of penalty killing).

The Reign were outshot 38-15 and outscored 5-0 in their season opener against a Bakersfield team stacked with Ducks prospects. Justin Pogge, the parent club’s number-three goalie, was perfect in stopping what few offensive chances the Reign could muster.

Curiously, the Reign went 7-for-7 on the penalty kill but had a little harder time stopping the Condors at even strength. Bakersfield used their speed to full effect, and scored twice on fast-breaks. Mike Zacharias got the call over Curtis Darling in net and played fairly well considering how much time the Reign spent in their own zone. “Most of the goals we didn’t give him much chance on,” Karl Taylor said.

More details in tomorrow’s editions.

One more detail – Jon Francisco is the new (old?) captain. He was officially handed the “C” again, and Shawn Germain and David Walker donned “A”s.

Make that 11 …

… players on NHL contracts the Reign will see tonight in Bakersfield. That is, if Dan Sexton has arrived from San Antonio of the American Hockey League. The rookie forward out of Bowling Green had a solid preseason in the Ducks’ NHL camp, then didn’t play for San Antonio, which is a Phoenix Coyotes’ affiliate, before being assigned to the Bakersfield Condors on Friday.

Including Sexton, Bakersfield’s roster now features 11 players under NHL contracts to the Ducks.

On the waiver wire.

Missed this one yesterday, but there was one notable Reign nemesis who was cut from his ECHL training camp: Luke Erickson, who scored 21 goals and 55 points in 68 games last year for the Alaska Aces.

The speedy forward had four goals and two assists in seven games against the Reign last season, but today finds himself without a team. He was also among the league’s best last year in shootouts, where he was a perfect 5-for-5.

First-year Aces coach Brent Thompson told the Anchorage Daily News that “In my mind-set, [Erickson] is more of a top two-line center with an offensive side. I’d have to put him in a defensive, checking center role and I don’t see him as that.”

The skinny on Adam Henrich.

Adam Henrich was in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ training camp a year ago. Now he’s in a Reign jersey. What a difference a year (and two injuries) can make.

Released from a pro tryout agreement four days ago with the AHL’s Springfield Falcons, Henrich signed an ECHL deal with the Reign and is set to go in tomorrow’s season opener.

“I thought coming over here could be something different and could be good for me,” Henrich said. “I got released from Springfield, and this was my next option.”

Continue reading “The skinny on Adam Henrich.” »

Henrich completes Reign’s opening-day roster.

Left one name off the Reign’s opening-day roster: Adam Henrich.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound forward was playing for the AHL’s Springfield (Mass.) Falcons as little as four days ago, but was released from his Pro Tryout Contract on Tuesday. Henrich has split his first five pro seasons between the AHL and the ECHL, where he was almost a goal-per-game player (10 goals, 20 points in 12 games) during his last stint in Wheeling (2007-08).

He spent all of last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins’ AHL affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, scoring 3 goals and 11 points in 37 games.

Here’s some Adam Henrich links to get introduced:

– His Wikipedia entry
– A recap of his one-goal, one-assist debut game this season in Springfield
– His career stats

Reign make final cuts, set opening-day roster

Forwards Joel Irving, Tyler Mugford and Doug Spooner, and defenseman Cameron Cepek, became the Reign’s final training camp cuts Wednesday when the opening-day roster was submitted to the ECHL

Forwards Tony Voce (7-day), Todd Jackson (21-day) and Robert Pearce (21-day), and defenseman Dan Knapp (3-day), will begin the season on injured reserve.
Continue reading “Reign make final cuts, set opening-day roster” »

Reign: Captaincy up for grabs.

Jon Francisco is no longer the Reign captain.

This isn’t breaking news. It’s been that way since the end of last season and it’s a tradition in each year Karl Taylor has coached in the ECHL.

What is news is that, even with a returning captain and three alternates (Shawn Germain, David Walker and Chad Starling), the Reign are waiting to select their next “C.”

“The turnover is so high, we wait and see what happens. We see how it shakes out,” Taylor said. “Obviously we’ve got some guys back from last year who we trusted, but we’ve brought in some new guys that have experience and maybe they’ll be part of the leadership group.”

To choose the captain, the Reign players collectively get one vote, while Taylor gets another.

“It’s a big decision, and we definitely don’t want to rush it,” Taylor said. “I’m never in a rush to pick the captaincy.”

Neither is Francisco.

“Last year, I was very much honored to be a part of that close group of guys,” he said. “But that’s over. This is a new year.”