The ECHL announced its all-rookie team today, and no Reign players made the cut. The complete list:
F – Evan Barlow, Idaho Steelheads (55 gp, 32g, 40a, 72 pts, +28)
F – Justin Donati, Elmira Jackals (62 gp, 38g, 58a, 96 pts, +13)
F – Maxime Tanguay, Toledo Walleye (63 gp, 25g, 43a, 68 pts, +3)
D – Drew Paris, Gwinnett Gladiators (68 gp, 12g, 32a, 44 pts, -18)
D – Sam Roberts, Gwinnett Gladiators (67 gp, 10g, 30a, 40 pts, -15)
G – Richard Bachman, Idaho Steelheads (34 gp, 22-7-3, 2.26 GAA, .909 Save Pct.)
In case you missed today’s notebook in print, check it out online here.
A few items we didn’t have room for …
Starting tomorrow with its all-rookie team, the ECHL will begin to name its 2009-10 awards winners. Even though it’s been a down year for the Reign in the standings, some players have compiled some hard-to-ignore statistics.
Goaltender Curtis Darling leads the league in saves and minutes, is tied for fifth in wins and ranks sixth in goals-against average. David Walker leads all ECHL defensemen in power-play assists, ranks third among defensemen in overall assists and is tied for sixth in points by a defenseman. He’s also tied for fourth among ECHL blueliners with 12 major penalties. Forward Greg Hogeboom is 10th in the league in goals scored.
Here is the full awards schedule:
Left wing Jon Rheault has been signed by the American Hockey League’s Abbotsford Heat.
A pair of 20-year-olds coming off their junior seasons – Irvine native C.J. Stretch and recent Kings draft pick Jordan Nolan – have been added to the Reign’s roster.
Jon Rheault scored twice, and Geoff Walker and Tim Kraus added one apiece, as the Reign salvaged the final game of a three-game series with the Aces. The Reign did not lead until Walker’s third-effort goal at 7:38 of the third period.
The Idaho Steelheads clinched their first-ever Brabham
Cup championship on Friday by virtue of Kalamazoo’s overtime loss against
The Brabham Cup is the trophy awarded annually to the ECHL team that
finishes with the most points in the regular season. The recipient is
guaranteed home-ice advantage throughout its participation in the Kelly
The Steelheads are 46-16-5 and lead the ECHL with 97 points. Idaho has
secured a first-round bye in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, and will meet the
winner of the fourth-place and fifth-place matchup in the National
Should the Reign hook up with the Steelheads in the playoffs, it’s worth noting that the Reign won two of three games in their only Boise road trip this season.
The Reign were noticeably closer to victory Friday than they were in a
6-3 loss to Alaska on Wednesday night. But as head coach Karl Taylor
noted afterwards, “there are no moral victories this time of year.”
The loss – though it was a close one – leaves the Reign two points
behind the Las Vegas Wranglers for the National Conference’s final
playoff berth, with four games left in the regular season.
Tim Kraus scored the lone goal, and Curtis Darling stopped 20 of 20
shots after Mike Zacharias allowed two goals in 18 minutes.
More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.
The Anaheim Ducks have their own American Hockey League affiliate, after the team announced a partnership this morning with the Syracuse Crunch.
Here’s why that is good news for the Reign:
The Bakersfield Condors, the Ducks’ ECHL affiliate, got off to a torrid start this season because Anaheim – without an AHL affiliate – was forced to send many of its top prospects to Bakersfield early in the year. Forwards Dan Sexton and Kyle Calder, and goaltender Timo Pielmeier, have all spent time in both a Condors and Ducks uniform this season. The Condors were leading the Pacific Division by 13 points at one point in January, before injuries allowed some of their best players to find homes in the AHL.
With the Ducks’ best prospects heading to Syracuse next season, don’t expect to see them beating up on the Reign early next year.
A third-period meltdown sent the Reign to just their third loss in the month of March.
Geoff Walker and David Walker scored first-period goals to give the Reign a 2-0 lead, but Alaska answered back with two more before the first intermission. The game stayed close through 40 minutes, but Alaska erupted for three devastating goals midway through the final period.
Gary Nunn created the first two, taking the puck nearly the length of the ice, winning a pair of battles at both ends with a burst of speed in the middle, and feeding Jason Ryznar to make it 3-2 at 9:05. He skated two-thirds the length of the ice and had Curtis Darling backpedaling when he shot it into the goalie’s chest at 12:01 of the third.
The Aces’ fifth goal was the toughest to swallow. With the Reign skating 5-on-4, Alaska cleared the puck down the ice and Darling left the crease to play it along the wall. He attempted to make an outlet pass back across the ice, where Curtis Fraser was skating straight into the puck – and scored into a wide-open net with 6:32 left in the period. (See tomorrow’s editions for Darling’s postgame comments.)
Sean O’Connor scored seconds after the power play expired, but Alaska netted an empty net goal to provide the final score.
With 68 points in the National Conference standings, the Reign (29-28-3-7) remained in eighth place, trailing both the Stockton Thunder and Las Vegas Wranglers by a point. The seven teams battling for the final six playoff positions are still separated by five points, thanks to a Utah Grizzlies victory over the Bakersfield Condors.
Defenseman Luis Tremblay was off the ice at Wednesday’s morning skate, the result of the same lower-body injury that kept him out of Sunday’s game against the Idaho Steelheads, head coach Karl Taylor said. Taylor said that Tremblay was in uniform Sunday “in case we needed an extra body.” Defenseman Dan Knapp took part in the morning skate and it appears he will be in the lineup against the Alaska Aces tonight.
Tim Kraus, who has missed back-to-back games with an undisclosed injury, was wearing the red practice jersey usually reserved for non-contact players. The center is eligible to come off IR, and Taylor said he has not decided whether or not Kraus will play. Peter Lenes skated again and looks ready to go if Kraus cannot.