Greg Hogeboom, Michael Pelech, Peter Lenes and Jon Francisco scored goals – the latter going into an empty net with 21 seconds left – and Curtis Darling made 29 saves as the Reign defeated the top-ranked team in the National Conference.
More details in tomorrow’s editions, but here were the postgame thoughts of Karl Taylor and Andrew Martens …
I think we survived the penalty kills, did a good job on the kill (6-for-6) we were fortunate in that area, and we scored more than two goals. Let’s be honest, we’ve been challenged to score. We had a lot of resiliency, and that’s the best team in the National Conference right now. We were fortunate to beat them. They had lots of team speed. You saw in the first period, they exposed us a little bit. But we were able to weather the storm. We played harder, we played six minutes the last seven [between the first and second periods] on the penalty kill. You’re going to give up shots and opportunities in that situation. There’s not much you can do about that, you’re not going to get shots on net. So we played a little bit smarter, got a couple power play opportunities. We were able to generate a little time.
(On Martens’ two-assist game): He had a better game today. If you ask him, he’d say he hasn’t had the season he wished for. No question he was better today. He needs to continue that play, especially with Shawn (Germain) missing. We need someone to eat those minutes, and I thought he did a good job today.
Everybody’s ahead of us right now, so we have to be ready to play every night. We got 21 games left. Tonight was a step in the right direction. We’re looking forward to this last push here. We can’t forget what happened this year. We’ve got a lot to learn from. We’re just pushing forward. We’ve got a 22-game push now. We’re 1-0.
(On his game) It was just a couple opportunities that I had. I’m trying to contribute where I can. It’s been a long year for me too. I can’t dwell on anything that happened in the past. It’s over and done. So everybody’s hurting over here. Especially after last weekend, i don’t even know if we scored two goals last weekend. It’s tough to rebound from something like that. We showed a lot of heart, put some pucks in the net. I thought it’s important to get on there.
(On losing Germain) We’ve just got to band together. We have a good D-core. Germ’s still out there. He’s watching the games, coming down to the locker room. He’s a big leader on our team. It’s important for him to still b a big part of the team. He’s helping out where he can. We’re trying to stick together as a solid D-core, push through, and hopefully we’re playing well into the playoffs.