Stockton 3, Reign 2.

If you’ve seen the Reign play recently, neither the game nor the result were out of the ordinary – a few too many pucks off the post, a few too many scoring chances on the other end (they were outshot 31-27) and, at the end, a loss – their fourth in five games.

Karl Taylor said afterwards he felt the team deserved better, and the law of averages says the Reign probably should have more than one win to show for their last five games. It won’t get any easier tomorrow with a 2 p.m. date in Bakersfield. In fact, the team boarded a bus immediately after the game to head north.

Taylor tried some creative things – he pulled Darling with seven minutes left to create a 6-on-4 power play, and it worked when Mike Egener scored 12 seconds later. He also shifted Tim Kraus to right wing on the second power-play unit, and that worked too – the natural center scored to break a four-game drought in the third period.

But for most part it was another offensively frustrating effort. More details – including an update on defenseman Shawn Germain, who did not play – in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

  • EB

    The fact that the Reign scored two powerplay goals is almost mind boggling. I believe I witnessed their worst performance in powerplay situations all season long. Handed in a silver platter, a 5 minute major powerplay because of the beating of O’Conner by the classless moron Anthony Aiello, the Reign failed to even setup shop in their own offensive zone. Instead, the Thunder man handled the Reign the entire powerplay and even spent the majority of the time killing off the penalty in the Reign’s defensive zone.
    And speaking of Aiello, I can’t decide which made me madder. Was it watching him throw punches at-will on O’Conner and continued to do so even after he fell to the ice or the sight of seeing three Reign players just standing there as they watch O’Conner get leveled even has he laid face down on the ice with his hands covering his head? Not one of our guys jumped in to the aid of O’Conner. Disgusting sight. One or more Reign players should have jumped in and taken care of Aiello and show the Thunder that the Reign is not just going to let opposing teams run all over them. Pathetic. Did anyone else notice that on O’Conner’s very next shift in the offensive zone faceoff, that two Thunder players each went up to O’Conner and talked smack to him. Again, our guys just skated away pretending not to notice.

    But kudos to O’Conner for not quitting and for later standing up for himself (since no one else was going to help him) has he took on Oren Eizenman inside the Thunder’s goal net. It was well worth the 10 min misconduct he got.

  • Crossbar

    You’ve hit the nail on the head, J.P. Actually, last night’s game was representative of Ontario’s season as a whole. Whether it be the glaring lack of offense (at least until the 3rd period, when down 3-0, the game was virtually out of reach); “polite” defense (would someone other than O’Connor please take the body once in awhile! I know Stockton has some big players–Riley Emmerson is 6’8″ 250lb, but even their smaller guys were hitting and leaving several of the Reign looking like rag dolls out on the ice); inconsistent goaltending; or the #1 problem in my book–taking far too many penalties for a squad playing a defensive-minded system, the game spoke volumes about why the team is struggling to keep up with its rivals in the National Conference. Yeah, quite a few shots have been ringing off the pipes of late, but there have been some open-net opportunities squandered as well.

    True, Coach Taylor’s boys are up against a lot of AHL-level talent, what with Bakersfield, for example, being Anaheim’s feeder team this year (Ducks have no AHL affiliate); but that makes it all the more imperative for the Reign to play smart hockey. And by smart, I don’t mean having to kill off three consecutive minor penalties, as in last night’s game.

    There’s still time to right the ship, as they’re only four points out of the final playoff spot; but one look at the remaining schedule tells you that it won’t be easy. Three of the top four goaltenders in the league are in the Reign’s conference, with Idaho’s tandem currently ranking #1 and #4. (Ontario has five games left with the Steelheads.) Still, hope springs eternal.

    Go Reign!:)

  • IE SPORTS FAN

    I agree with your post, the Reign appear to have given up already. They play with very little emotion and/or pride. Not to mention they are completely overmatched in just about every category (skill, strength, endurance), by all of the other teams in our division.

    The Thunder looked like they play with a ton of energy, have fun, and truely play like a TEAM. I can’t help but think that it’s time for a coaching change, cause this team plays like a team that has turned a deaf ear to their Coach!

    Time for some MAJOR changes, before it’s too late!