The American Conference all-star team was announced today. While it’s a group of mostly unfamiliar names to Reign fans, it includes the ECHL’s leading scorer (Justin Donati), a former first-round draft pick (A.J. Thelen) and several players who are already in the American Hockey League.
In a game that finished just before 11 p.m. Pacific time, the Reign came up empty in the shootout after playing the Alaska Aces to a 2-2 tie through 65 minutes.
Michael Pelech and Tim Kraus scored to give the Reign a 2-0 lead they held until late in the second period. The Reign (13-15-2-2) then had to hang on after being outshot 12-3 in the third period. Curtis Darling stopped 35 of 37 shots in net.
Pelech’s fourth goal of the season came during a Reign power playat 3:35 of the first period. Mike Howe and defenseman Mike Egener picked up the assists. Kraus made it 2-0 at 6:08 of the middle period, putting a slapshot in from the left circle off assists from Greg Hogeboom and Shawn Germain.
But Alaska netminder Scott Reid took over from there, while Jason Ryznar (with 23 seconds left in the second) and and Bryan Miller (4:00 into the third) managed to tie the game up. Reid took over in the shootout, stoning Tony Voce, Hogeboom, Peter Lenes and Chad Starling in order, while Nick Mazzolini and Alexandre Imbeault scored on Darling.
The Reign will play the Aces again tomorrow night — their ninth game away from home out of 13 games in December — and ring in the New Year in Alaska an hour later than the rest of us.
In case you missed it, Lenes, Hogeboom, David Walker and Jon Rheault (who’s been in Manchester the last month) were named to the National Conference All-Star team earlier Wednesday.
David Walker and Greg Hogeboom will start, and childhood friends Jon Rheault and Peter Lenes will come off the bench, for the National Conference all-star team at the ECHL All-Star Game on Jan. 20.
Reign defenseman Jon Landry has been suspended by the team.
Surprise starter Mike Zacharias gave up goals on the first two shots he faced, and the Reign never caught up to Las Vegas in their first game in a week.
It’s hard to tell who was the guilty party just by reading this summary, from the Las Vegas Sun, of the Reign’s game against the Las Vegas Wranglers on Dec. 19:
So when the Reign started chirping during pregame warmups, the Wranglers chirped back.
When the Reign started pushing, the Wranglers pushed back.
But once the puck dropped at the Orleans Arena, it was the Wranglers who set the tone.
“We wanted to respond before the game started,” Wranglers defenseman Chris Frank said.
In the judgment of the ECHL, it was Frank and his Las Vegas teammates.
Both were fined separately for violating rule 86.6, which reads: “During the pre-game warm-up (which shall not exceed sixteen (16) minutes in duration) and before the commencement of play in any period, each team shall confine its activity to its own end of the rink.”
The league did not release the exact amount each would be fined.
Luc Robitaille is getting another chance to flash his public-speaking skills.
Robitaille, a recent Hockey Hall of Fame inductee and the Kings’ president of business operations, will be the featured speaker at the 2010 ECHL Hall of Fame induction on Jan. 20 at the Hilton Ontario Airport.
Tickets for the luncheon are $40 each, or a table with seven tickets can be purchased for $250. The Reign are offering a special ticket package that includes a tickets to the ECHL Hall of Fame luncheon, the All-Star Skills Competition, the Fan Fest at Dave & Busters and the ECHL All-Star Game for only $75.
To purchase tickets visit OntarioReign.com/team/allstar/ or telephone the Ontario Reign at (909) 941-7825.
Defenseman David Walker is taking the week off to recuperate from what he called a strained back. Apparently he was able to curl up at the last second to avoid hitting the end boards with his helmet Friday in the Reign’s shootout win over the Las Vegas Wranglers. More details on his progress in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.
The Las Vegas Wranglers are in flux, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
[Head coach Ryan] Mougenel has little choice but to hope his current players contribute more because his paltry payroll prevents him from making significant moves.
“We have the lowest payroll in the ECHL,” he said.
ECHL teams are allowed a weekly salary cap of $11,800, not including players on injured reserve. Mougenel said he’s “operating nowhere near $11,800.”
“It’s tough,” he said. “Alaska has five or six guys on IR and their cap is like $16,000. Ours is $10,300 with IR.”
A higher payroll doesn’t seem likely because team ownership is in flux. The franchise is in the process of being sold, Mougenel said.
Charles Davenport, the team’s principal owner since its inception in Las Vegas in 2003, recently sold his share to co-owner Jonathan Fleisig, who also owns the Bakersfield (Calif.) Condors.
With attendance at the Orleans Arena down more than 20 percent from four years ago — from 5,075 to 3,945 per game — and corporate sponsorships also down during the recession, Fleisig appears intent on keeping his expenses in Las Vegas as low as possible.
The local hockey team is only one of many local institutions to suffer during the recession in a city built on tourism. In fact, it might be among the smallest. Check out this article in the L.A. Times from September for some perspective.