The consensus opinion (both Karl Taylor and Jon Francisco volunteered it after the game) was that the Reign were lucky to get a point Friday. Even though they led the Alaska Aces for all but the game’s final 6:23, the 0-for-8 power play success rate stuck out like a sore thumb.
Speaking of the power play, Francisco said that “we’re working on some new stuff. It’s coming around. We’re getting shots to the net. I had two backdoor chances that I didn’t bury. That’s on me — I know that. I’ll be better tomorrow.”
The other consensus opinion was that some players, but not all, were giving the “extra 5 percent” effort that shone through in wins last Saturday and Monday in Utah. I asked Taylor specifically about James McEwan, who appeared in his first game since Dec. 30.
Taylor said McEwan’s appearance had less to do with Alaska’s size than McEwan’s effort in practice.
“James has been working hard and he earned it,” Taylor said. “He showed up with a lot of energy today. Fought two tough kids. He’s doing everything he can to help our team win. If everybody showed up with that compete level – and I don’t mean on the fighting side – but just that commitment, we probably win the game tonight.”
McEwan’s fight late in the second period with Alaska’s Justin Johnson – who is several inches taller and listed as 30 pounds heavier than McEwan – certainly looked like it hurt and turned several heads at The Bank.
To make room for McEwan, defenseman Brian Kilburg was placed on 3-day IR, Chris Curran was transfered to 7-day IR, and forward Sal Peralta was transfered to 21-day IR.