Good news for Jon Rheault and Dwight King is bad news for the Reign, who learned that two of their top offensive weapons are heading to the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs.
Rheault scored the Reign’s only goal during a two-game sweep at the hands of the Victoria Salmon Kings last weekend. For the season, the right wing has a team-leading 10 goals in 15 games, despite spending nearly two weeks with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose.
King, a fourth-round pick by the Kings in 2007, hasn’t appeared in a regular-season AHL game in this, his first professional season. In 20 games for the Reign, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound forward had four goals and nine points.
Recently promoted right wing Geoff Walker is the Kings’ “Prospect of the week” on the team’s official Web site.
It’s easy now to forget how Walker came into the Kings’ organization: He was claimed by the Reign off waivers by the now-defunct Phoenix Roadrunners late in the 2008 preseason, finished the season tied for the team scoring lead, improved his conditioning in the off-season and earned an AHL contract with the Manchester Monarchs. Walker had an assist last night in a Monarchs win.
The cellar-dwelling Salmon Kings swept the Reign out of Victoria with a 5-0 blowout win Saturday. The Reign were outshot 32-27 and Curtis Darling took the loss, making 27 saves.
The Reign went 0-for-4 on the power play while allowing two Vicotira goals in five man-advantage chances.
More details in tomorrow’s editions.
Jon Rheault made a noisy return to the Reign, but his teammates had a quiet night on the scoresheet. Rheault’s unassisted short-handed tally was the only goal in a 2-1 loss to the Victoria Salmon Kings at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Center Friday night.
Rheault, who spent the past two weeks with the American Hockey League’s Providence Bruins, needed just 9:07 to score his team-leading 10th goal of the season.
Victoria (5-11-1) answered with goals by Mike Hamilton and Scott Howes in the second and third periods, respectively. Curtis Darling, making his first start in nine days, stopped 25 of 27, including a first-period penalty shot by Chad Painchaud.
Chris Curran made his season debut for the Reign, who had the better scoring chances in the game according to the recap in the Victoria Times-Colonist.
The teams will meet again tonight in Victoria for the seventh time this season. After that, The Reign will play the Salmon Kings only once more, Dec. 6 at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
With the loss, the Reign fell to 8-9-2, and their 18 points trail the Bakersfield Condors by eight points for first place in the Pacific Division. The Condors won their fifth straight Friday, 4-1 over Las Vegas.
Tony Voce, the Reign’s second-leading goal scorer, has been placed on 7-day injured reserve in advance of the team’s two-game series in Victoria. The winger was held out of practice earlier this week with an injury, replaced in Monday’s skate by Chris Curran on a line with Jon Francisco and Greg Hogeboom.
Curran, who has not played a game this season as he recovers from a leg fracture, is close to making his debut and could spell Voce on Friday and Saturday against the Salmon Kings.
In case you missed it, check out today’s story about the Reign serving the homeless Wednesday in Upland.
Wednesday was also a big day for Geoff Walker, who scored his first career American Hockey League goal just 39 seconds into the Manchester Monarchs’ victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The description, via NHL.com:
Following his recall from the ECHL’s Ontario Reign on Monday, right wing Geoff Walker scored his first goal of the season with the Monarchs only 39 seconds into the game. Gauthier picked up a pass from left wing Richard Clune behind the Sound Tigers cage. The center quickly threw the puck into the crease where Walker was skating to redirect the pass into the net.
Former Reign defenseman Colten Teubert, who is again playing for the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats, will captain the WHL all-stars tonight against the Russian Junior Selects in Victoria.
Teubert, the Kings’ 2008 first-round draft pick who played 14 games for the Reign last season, spoke to the Victoria Times-Colonist about what he gained in his first pro experience:
As for taking the next step in the Kings’ system, Teubert said it’s a matter of maturing.
“During my time [last spring] in the ECHL with the Reign, I learned a lot about playing with older guys and what it’s going to take,” he said.
“Another big thing I learned was about keeping the passion. There were some guys on the Reign in their late 20s and they still loved the game and still had the passion to play pro hockey.”
In a good bit of timing for the Reign, forwards Jon Rheault and Geoff Walker are switching leagues.
Rheault is set to rejoin the Reign from the AHL’s Providence Bruins, where he was held scoreless in a four-game stint last week. At the time of his recall, Rheault was leading the Reign with nine goals and 15 points in 13 games.
He had been a valuable part of the Reign’s power play, on which he had two goals and four assists, and the penalty-kill, where he had a short-handed goal.
“We had other people step up when they’ve had the opportunity,” coach Karl Taylor said. “Jon was a very important part on the power play, penalty kill, 5-on-5 he was playing great. Other guys are starting to step up, which is great. When Jon gets back tomorrow, we’ll see what happens.”
Walker, meanwhile, will rejoin the Manchester Monarchs after notching a goal and seven points in 10 games for the Reign. The Kings recalled forwards Andrei Loktionov and Brandon Segal from Manchester today. The NHL club is dealing with a long-term injury to left wing Ryan Smyth, and shorter-term ailments to center Jarrett Stoll and Rob Scuderi. Smyth was placed on injured reserve today.
The Reign erased a 3-0 deficit on home ice, dominating every facet of the game except special teams. Jason Pitton scored 1:35 into the 4-on-4 overtime period, avenging the Thunder’s 8-2 loss a night earlier at The Bank.
Stockton scored on its first three power plays of the game and finished 3-for-4 with the man advantage, where the Reign finished 0-for-7.
Tim Kraus, Mike Egener and Greg Hogeboom scored for the Reign (8-8-1-1) and the standings point left them four behind Bakersfield for first place in the Pacific Division. Dwight King, Geoff Walker, Tony Voce and Jon Francisco picked up the assists.
Peter Lenes scored twice, Greg Hogeboom, Dwight King, Geoff Walker, Mike Howe, David Walker and Michael Pelech added one apiece, and the Reign matched a franchise record with eight goals.
Jon Francisco and Geoff Walker had two assists apiece, and David Walker (who engaged in two fights) fell one assist shy of a Gordie Howe Hat Trick.
The two teams will meet again at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Bank. More details in tomorrow’s editions.