Another lost lead, another shootout, and another Mike Zacharias special delivery – at least the Reign found a way to win on the road.
The Alaska Aces erased a 3-1 deficit with three third-period goals to take a 4-3 lead, before a goal by Michael Pelech with 1:35 left in regulation sent the game to overtime, and eventually a shootout. Once again, Karl Taylor pulled Curtis Darling in favor of Mike Zacharias and once again, Zacharias delivered. He stopped four of the five Aces shooters, allowing goals by Pelech and Chad Starling to hold up on the other end, with Starling’s proving to be the winner.
It was the fourth straight shootout for the Reign; they have won two and lost two. In three straight shootout performances, Zacharias has only allowed two goals.
Pelech had a huge game, collecting two assists in addition to his goals in regulation and the shootout. Mike Egener kicked off the scoring at 4:39 of the first period, Sean O’Connor made it 2-0 just 62 seconds later with his 12th goal of the season, and Egener’s ninth goal of the season with 34 seconds left in the second period made it 3-1.
Alaska began its comeback with a short-handed goal by Scott Burt at 2:20 of the third period, and even-strength goals by Merit Waldrop and Eric Boguniecki made it 4-3.
Jon Rheault picked up two more assists, giving him five (along with two goals) in four games since his return from the AHL. Geoff Walker and Andrew Martens also had assists for the Reign.
Egener has seven goals and seven assists (and 32 penalty minutes) in his last 12 games for the Reign. Ontario finished 2-for-6 on the power play and held Alaska to one goal in eight man-advantage shifts, but failed to convert a 43-second long 5-on-3 advantage late in the first period.
Here’s what the conference standings
look like; the Reign gained a valuable two points on the Utah
Grizzlies, who did not play last night. They’re now tied with Las Vegas
for the sixth/seventh spot, but Alaska’s point in the standings moves
them into a tie for fourth/fifth with Stockton.
The three-game series resumes at 8:15 p.m. Friday.