Because of early deadlines and a late (7:30 p.m.) start time, I wasn’t able to include postgame quotes from the Reign’s 3-2 shootout win in this morning’s game story. Here’s what you missed:
“Somebody had to do something, and I was kind of like right there,” Francisco said. “I think any one of the guys in the locker room would have done the same thing. I just happened to be the guy in position to do it. it’s a testament to how close our group is, and is becoming.”
“That kind of stuff,” defenseman Mike Egener said, “goes a long way.”
Francisco has never been known as a fighter in his career. Lawrence is no stranger to fisticuffs and got the better end of this fight — Francisco needed six stitches between periods to close a bloodied lip — but the net result benefitted the Reign.
They came back to score twice in a spirited third period, including one goal by Francisco, before winning in the shootout. But the message sent by the captain could resonate longer than one game.
“It’s a huge step for our team to see that,” coach Karl Taylor said.
2. ECHL rule 47.10 reads: “An instigator of an altercation shall be a player who by his actions or demeanor demonstrates any/some of the following criteria: distance traveled; gloves off first; first punch thrown; menacing attitude or posture; verbal instigation or threats; conduct in retaliation to a prior game (or season) incident; obvious retribution for a previous incident in the game or season. A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation shall be assessed an instigating minor penalty and a major penalty.”
Mike Egener had not demonstrated any or some of those criteria in a game before Friday, when he was given two minutes in the sin bin for instigating his fight with the Wranglers’ John Schwarz. But that’s not how it happened, Egener said.
“I asked (Schwarz) to fight me right off the faceoff and he said OK,” Egener said. “And then when the puck dropped, he didn’t drop his mitts. He started skating and I said, ‘let’s go, let’s go.’ I thought we dropped the gloves at the same time, but in the ref’s opinion I was instigating it while we were going up the ice.”
3. Tim Kraus leads the team with 18 assists, but few have been as well-timed and well-placed as the pass that set up Greg Hogeboom’s game-tying goal late in the third period.
Kraus had the puck in the right faceoff circle and Hogeboom had set up shop in the left circle, which is more or less his on-ice office. There was a clutter of Wranglers in between, but Hogeboom didn’t have to move his skates — only wind up for a hard one-timer — when Kraus delivered the pass onto the tape of his stick.
“When you put it in (Hogeboom’s) wheelhouse,” Taylor said, “it’s going to be a tough one to save.”