Las Vegas 5, Reign 2.

The Reign allowed three power-play goals and had to kill 10 penalties at all, turning a close contest into a futile game of catch-up in the third period.

The standings picture is bleak. Not only will the Reign have to win their final two games, but they’ll need the Utah Grizzlies to win both of their final two games in Victoria and at least one win must be in regulation.

Otherwise, the Reign will be the only team in an eight-team conference to miss the postseason.

Tim Kraus scored twice and Curtis Darling appeared to be in top form,
stopping 29 shots.

Las Vegas scored twice on 5-on-3 goals, twice on breakaways, and capped it with an empty-net goal in the final minute.
Ned Lukacevic notched a hat trick, and the Wranglers became the fifth
team in the conference to clinch a playoff berth.

Karl Taylor was blunt in his critique of the Reign’s performance …
check out his thoughts and those of captain Jon Francisco in tomorrow’s
editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

Jordan Nolan made his Reign debut, but fellow rookie C.J. Stretch did
not. In order to make room for Nolan, forward Mike Howe – an original
member of the inaugural Reign squad – was placed on waivers.

Howe had six goals and 15 points in 55 games this season after notching
five goals and 15 points in 49 games a year ago. A talented defensive
specialist out of the University of Minnesota, Howe also had a goal and
an assist in seven playoff games last season.

Taylor said that the decision to release Howe was “really hard. He’s a
great person and a very good individual. It was a very tough decision.
He was a big part of what we created here. … Not (a decision) I wanted
to make.”

Defenseman Luis Tremblay and forward Jon Rheault stepped into the Reign
lineup, and Peter Lenes and Dan Knapp were both placed on IR prior to
the game.