Todd Jackson returned to the Reign lineup and scored Ontario’s only goal, but the Reign lost 2-1 to the Las Vegas Wranglers at Orleans Arena on Saturday night.
Jackson could do nothing about the eventual game-winning goal by the Wranglers — he was in the penalty box for tripping at 4:48 of the third period when Shay Stephenson scored to put Las Vegas up 2-0. It was the only power-play goal in nine man-advantage shifts for Las Vegas. The Reign also survived a 40-second long, 5-on-3 penalty kill in the first period.
With 4:15 left in the third period, Jackson halved the Wranglers’ lead with his first goal of the season, taking a pass from Chris Curran, taking advantage of a Michael Pelech screen and firing past Michael Ouzas. It was Jackson’s sixth game of the season and his first since Dec. 11 in Idaho.
Friday night in Ontario, the Reign also fell behind 2-0 early in the third period but were able to come back and tie; they never got the second goal Saturday, even after Curtis Darling (30 saves) was pulled for an extra attacker in the final minute. Ouzas stopped 22 of 23 for the Wranglers (10-14-2-1), who still trail the Reign (13-13-2-1) by six points for second place in the Pacific Division standings.
Reign forward Tony Voce missed his 11th straight game with a strained MCL, and defenseman David Walker did not play a night after suffering a scary head injury.
The Reign have a week off before facing the Wranglers in Las Vegas again on Dec. 26.