Idaho 6, Reign 5, shootout.

Geoff Walker scored the game-tying goal with 2:18 left in regulation, and the Reign gained a point to match Utah with 68 points in the National Conference standings.

Mike Zacharias made his third consecutive start in net and made 30 saves in regulation and overtime, but couldn’t stop Marty Flichel’s forehand attempt in the fifth and final round of the shootout.

Tony Voce scored twice, and Andrew Martens, Greg Hogeboom and Walker added one goal apiece. Martens finished with a season-high four points, including three assists.

After a relatively uneventful two periods, the final 20 minutes were unusually crazy. Seven goals were scored, with the Reign potting four. Six minor penalties were handed out, with the Reign drawing five.

But the play that was still resonating after the game was a non-call on the Steelheads’ fifth goal of the game. At the 11-minute mark of the third period, Idaho’s Mark McCutcheon drove the net with the puck and appeared to get tapped from behind by the gloves of David Walker. But he also appeared to sell the play by leaping into Zacharias, leaving the goaltender unable to play the loose puck in the crease and allowing Matt McKnight to tap in an easy goal.

Said Reign coach Karl Taylor, “I thought all three officials struggled very hard tonight, and they need to be better. They were brutal. … He (McCutcheon) didn’t get pushed. I don’t care what he says, he didn’t get pushed.”

Added Geoff Walker – unprompted – “I thought the ref was absolutely terrible. Put us behind the 8-ball there a lot. We just battled through and showed a lot of heart tonight.”

More in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin. Here are a few more details I didn’t have room for in the paper:

• Attendance was 6,635
• Tim Kraus missed his second straight game with an undisclosed injury.
• The Reign had been outscored 75-56 in third period this year prior to today. They’re now 4-20-2-3 when trailing after two periods.
• In their last 16 games, the Reign are 11-2-3.
• Karl Taylor rotated five defensemen; Luis Tremblay was in uniform but watching from the bench.
• It came at an inconsequential juncture (about 11 minutes into the game), but Colten Teubert made probably his most impressive defensive play since coming to the Reign, chasing down Idaho winger Michael Neal after Neal gained the zone, shoulder-checking him into the boards and off the puck.
• The Reign killed five Steelhead power plays – including a 5-on-3 that lasted 23 seconds of the third period – but also allowed four power-play goals.
• Idaho goalie Rejean Beauchemin stopped all five Reign shootout attempts. He’s 21-for-23 (.913) in the shootout this year, third-best in the ECHL.

  • Crossbar

    I hate to say it again, but we’ve seen this rerun far too often during the past six months. Simply put, our guys have got to find a way to stay out of the Sin Bin! These consecutive penalties (three in the 2nd period and five in the 3rd) are putting enormous pressure on our PKers, not to mention our goalie, and yesterday afternoon Idaho made us pay by scoring four of their six goals while we were short handed. Yes, the officiating left something to be desired, but I saw non calls for both sides, not just theirs. No, from this observer’s perspective, the march to the penalty box was a far bigger factor in our failing to sweep the three game series with the Steelheads; and like I said before, it’s been a recurring theme for the Reign this season. Hopefully, we can get a handle on it the final six games, and in the process, earn ourselves a ticket to the post season.
    On a more upbeat note, kudos to G. Walker on an outstanding goal to even things up and send us into OT, as well as to Mike Zacharias for keeping us alive in the shootout until the very end. Who says you need a fancy-looking helmet to be one helluva goalie!

    Let’s go, Reign!