Reign preview/review.

First, a look back.

Here is the story that appeared in today’s Daily Bulletin recapping the Reign’s 4-3 shootout loss Wednesday in Bakersfield. And here is the game story from the Bakersfield Californian.

Looking ahead, the Reign face a very refreshed Stockton Thunder squad Friday at The Bank. The Thunder will have four days off since their last contest, a 3-1 loss to Idaho that completed a Steelhead sweep in Stockton. The Thunder haven’t won in their last six; here was the reaction piece in Monday’s Stockton Record.

The Reign are 1-2 against the Thunder this season, including a 7-1 blowout and a 3-0 loss in Stockton; and most recently, a 3-2 loss at The Bank on Nov. 4.

Bakersfield 4, Reign 3, shootout.

A close game for the first 65 minutes was anything but in the shootout, where Stephane Goulet, Dan Sexton and MacGregor Sharp scored on Curtis Darling to give the Bakersfield Condors a 4-3 win Wednesday.

Michael Pelech scored his first goal of the season, and Tony Voce and Peter Lenes also scored for the Reign, the latter coming short-handed. Darling stopped 31 of 34 shots in net.

The game began at 10:30 a.m., part of an annual Field Trip promotion at Bakersfield’s Rabobank Arena.

Neither the Reign (7-8-1) nor the Condors (9-6-0) had participated in a shootout or overtime game this season. Greg Hogeboom, Tim Kraus and Andrew Martens were foiled in the skills competition by Bakersfield goalie Timo Pielmeier, who stopped 25 of 28 shots prior to the shootout.

More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Bulletin.

Victoria 4, Reign 0.


The Reign (7-8-0) were outshot 51-18 by a Victoria Salmon Kings squad (3-10-0) clearly changed since getting swept out of Citizens Business Bank Arena last week. The line of Andy Brandt, Scott Howes and Adam Taylor accounted for three of the four goals on Curtis Darling, who made 47 saves — often enough to win two games for the Reign.

Not too many Reign highlights in this one; they won’t play again until Wednesday in Bakersfield.

Here’s the story out of the Victoria Times-Colonist.

Reign 4, Victoria 2.

The Reign finally solved Matt Keetley, touching the Victoria Salmon Kings’ goaltender for four goals and recording their fourth win in their last five games.

Jon Landry, Tim Kraus, Tony Voce and Dwight King scored for the Reign (7-7), who kept pace with the victorious Bakersfield Condors in the Pacific Division with the victory. Kraus and Voce each added a pair of assists, and goaltender Curtis Darling stopped 33 of 35 shots in his fifth straight start.

The Reign played for the first time without their leading goal-scorer, Jon Rheault, who signed a PTO with the American Hockey League’s Providence Bruins. Kraus’ goal was his first of the season to go along with 11 assists. Landry’s goal — his second of the season — was the Reign’s only power-play strike in six chances. King’s third goal of the season found an empty net with 8 seconds left in the third period.

Check out the game story in the Victoria Times-Colonist.

Reign: Second take on Wednesday night’s loss.

Turning to the Victoria Times-Colonist for the home team’s account of the Reign’s 2-0 loss to the Victoria Salmon Kings, here’s what Matt Keetley had to say about his final, spectacular save …

“It was a back-door slide across [to Reign forward Tony Voce] and I reached back and felt it in my glove. I think he [Voce] thought he had a goal. He came up to me afterwards and said it was a great save.”

Rheault heading to AHL.

Reign right wing Jon Rheault has been loaned to the Providence Bruins, the Boston Bruins’ affiliate in the American Hockey League. He is the first Reign player this season to get a shot at the next rung of hockey’s minor-league ladder.

It seemed to be a mere matter of time for Rheault, who had been enjoying a standout season with a team-leading nine goals and 15 points in 13 games. The 23-year-old played 24 games with the Manchester Monarchs last season, notching two goals and five points in his only prior AHL experience. Rheault played for Providence College from 2004-08. His nine goals tied for second in the ECHL, and his 15 points tied for ninth.

The Providence Bruins visit the Syracuse Crunch tonight, and Rheault is in the lineup.

Remember Ryan Turek’s first-period penalty Sunday?

Apparently, it was an important one.

The set-up: It’s 5:02 into the Reign’s game against the Alaska Aces. Greg Hogeboom is driving the Alaska net. Turek, a defenseman for Alaska, makes contact with Hogeboom and both end up on the ice. Turek takes a much longer time to get up, and slowly makes his way toward the Alaska penalty box.

Doyle Woody of the Anchorage Daily News takes it from here …
Continue reading “Remember Ryan Turek’s first-period penalty Sunday?” »

Victoria 2, Reign 0.

Victoria Salmon Kings goaltender Matt Keetley stood on his head, stopping 35 shots, including a pair he seemed to grab out of thin air in the final three mintues of a third period dominated by the Reign.

Curtis Darling was stuck with the hard-luck loss, making 21 saves on 23 shots for the Reign (6-7-0). Dirk Southern and Andy Brandt scored for Victoria, which won just its second game of the season in 11 games.

More details in tomorrow’s editions.

Have you seen Jeff Zatkoff’s Escalade?

Good feature by on former Reign goalie Jeff Zatkoff, who is on fire for the Manchester Monarchs, the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate. He talks about some of the lessons he gained in Ontario that have allowed him to post a 0.75 goals-against average and .978 save percentage to start the season:

“The biggest learning experience for me last year was playing on a nightly basis, not just on weekends like in college,” he said.

A close second in the life lesson department was to keep an eye on his vehicle. On the morning of April 1, Zatkoff awoke to find that his 2005 Escalade was missing from its parking space outside his apartment.

Since it was April Fool’s Day, he assumed he was the victim of a prank. Zatkoff pressed all of his teammates, but none ‘fessed up. Turns out the car was really stolen, and Zatkoff reported it to the police.

Darling named ECHL goaltender of the week

Reign goaltender Curtis Darling has been named the Reebok Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Week for Nov. 2-8.

The 26-year-old started three games in three days and was 3-0-0 with a shutout, a goals-against average of 1.34 and a save percentage of .955 to help Ontario improve to 6-6-0 and move into a tie for first place in the Pacific Division with 12 points.

Darling turned aside 24 of 25 shots in a 4-1 win against Victoria on Nov. 6 and had 33 saves in a 4-3 win against the Salmon Kings on Nov. 7 before stopping all 28 shots he faced in a 3-0 win against Alaska on Nov. 8.

He is 5-2-0 and leads the league with 211 saves while he is tied for the league lead with five wins and one shutout. He is fourth in the ECHL with 451 minutes and sixth with a goals-against average of 2.40.

Darling has played in the ECHL each of his first four seasons and is 36-44-9 with four shutouts, a goals-against average of 3.35 and a save percentage of .904 in 94 games for Charlotte, Ontario, Reading and Wheeling. He has also played in the American Hockey League where he has not allowed a goal while making 16 saves in two games with Manchester and Syracuse.

And — just in case you missed it — go read the story from this morning’s editions about the friendly competition between Darling and Mike Zacharias.