From the Calder Cup playoffs (American Hockey League):
Bud Holloway scored the second of three goals for the Manchester Monarchs in a 3-1 win over the Portland Pirates on Saturday night. Holloway scored the game-winner a night earlier, and the Monarchs lead 2-0 in the best-of-seven series. Former Reign forward Dwight King did not factor into the scoring in either game, and former Reign goalie Jeff Zatkoff has served as the backup in both.
Jon Rheault was in the starting lineup, but was kept off the scoresheet in a 4-1 loss by the Abbotsford Heat to the Rochester Americans on Saturday. Their series is tied at 1 game apiece.
Dusty Collins and the Manitoba Moose absorbed an 8-2 thumping at the hands of the Hamilton Bulldogs on Saturday. Collins did not figure into the scoring and the Moose head home to Winnipeg trailing 2-0 in the series.
From the Kelly Cup playoffs (ECHL):
Brian Kilburg and the Utah Grizzlies are down two games to none against the Idaho Steelheads after a 4-3 loss in Boise on Saturday. The former Reign defenseman got the starting nod but didn’t score.
Oren Eizenmann’s second goal of the game at 9:01 of overtime lifted the Stockton Thunder to a 4-3 win over the Bakersfield Condors on Saturday. The Thunder are leading 2-0 with the series heading back to Stockton on Tuesday. Bakersfield’s two ex-NHL forwards, MacGregor Sharp and Kyle Calder, have a combined zero goals and zero assists in the two games.
The Reign announced that they will host a postseason dinner and jersey auction at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Doubletree Hotel in Claremont.
This is the team’s second annual postseason dinner and jersey auction, where fans can enjoy a BBQ meal alongside some of the Reign players and coach, and have the opportunity to bid on their gray specialty jerseys in a live auction benefiting Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital.
For more information call the Ontario Reign office at (909) 941-PUCK (7825).
A brief update from the American Hockey League playoffs, where a pair of former Reign players are competing for two different teams:
Winger Jon Rheault, playing his first Calder Cup playoff game, assisted on the first goal by the Abbotsford Heat in a 3-2 victory over the Rochester Americans on Thursday.
Center Dusty Collins and the Manitoba Moose were shut out by the Hamilton Bulldogs, 2-0, in the first game of their best-of-seven series Thursday.
Several former Reign will make their AHL postseason debuts on Friday when the Manchester Monarchs visit the Portland Pirates. Jeff Zatkoff, Jordan Nolan, Patrick Mullen, Bud Holloway and Dwight King are all on the Monarchs’ playoff roster.
On to round two the Kelly Cup playoffs go, after a first round that saw 33 of a possible 35 games played. Five of the series went to Game 5.
The Utah Grizzlies, a No. 4 seed, eliminated the No. 5 seed Las Vegas
Wranglers last night with a 5-1 victory. Former Reign defenseman Brian Kilburg had a goal and two assists in the series.
The Idaho Steelheads have home-ice advantage in a best-of-7 series against Utah in round two.
Idaho was 10-3-1 against the Grizzlies in the regular season while Utah
4-7-3 against the Steelheads. Game 1 is Friday at Qwest Arena.
The Stockton Thunder will play the Bakersfield Condors in the other National Conference semifinal.
Bakersfield was 6-4-2 against the Thunder in the regular season, while
Stockton was also 6-4-2 against the Condors. Game 1 is Friday at Rabobank Arena.
The final day of the first round of the Kelly Cup playoffs is today, and only one series remains to be decided – Utah vs. Las Vegas, tied at 2 games apiece heading into Game 5 tonight in Utah. The winner gets fed to the top-seeded Idaho Steelheads in the second round.
The Stockton Thunder eliminated the Alaska Aces in five games, despite starting the series with two road games in Wasilla, Alaska. The Thunder will play the Bakersfield Condors, who eliminated the Victoria Salmon Kings with a 2-1 win Monday at Rabobank Arena.
If you like drama, you probably would have enjoyed watching the Condors’ Dan Kissel score the game-winning goal with 49 seconds left in regulation to oust the Salmon Kings. Recall that this is a Condors squad with two former NHL players (veteran Kyle Calder and Anaheim Ducks prospect MacGregor Sharp) on its roster. Instead the winning goal is credited to Kissel, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound 23-year-old who signed as an undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame, playing just his 16th professional game.
If anyone did their homework in Bakersfield, they were shouting “Ru-dy!” at the end of this one.
Tyler Donati of the Elmira Jackals. The 23-year-old won the ECHL scoring title with 114 points, the most points in a single season in the league since Wheeling’s Darren Schwartz also recorded 114 in 1992-93.
The 5-foot-10, 175-pound fowrard has split the last two seasons between the AHL and ECHL. This season, he also played three scoreless games in the Swiss B League.
Ryan Kinasewich of the Utah Grizzlies was the runner-up.
The ECHL has handed out two more pieces of hardware, twice leaving the Reign out of the hardware business.
Earlier today, South Carolina’s Todd Ford was named the goalie of the year. Ford started for the American Conference in the 2010 All-Star Game at Citizens Business Bank Arena, stopping 7 of 9 shots in the first period.
In 28 appearances this season, he went 18-7-2 with one shutout, finished fifth in the league with a 2.79 goals-against average, tied for second with a .910 save percentage and ranked fifth with a .889 shootout percentage. Idaho’s Richard Bachman was announced as the runner-up.
Another American Conference all-star, Toledo’s J.C. Sawyer, was named defenseman of the year. Sawyer led all defensemen with 21 goals, 59 points and seven game-winning goals while ranking second with 38 assists. He finished tied for fourth among defensemen with 18 power-play assists and was fifth with 24 power-play points.
Eric Regan of the Bakersfield Condors and Mitch Ganzak of the Wheeling Nailers were the runners up for the award.
On Friday, the league will announce its MVP award.
Jordan Nolan has been signed to an amateur tryout contract by the Manchester Monarchs, the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate.
The 20-year-old played in three games with the Ontario Reign, tallying two points (goal, assist) and four penalty minutes. Nolan will wear No. 39 for the Monarchs.
Nolan, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound power forward, was selected by the Kings in the seventh round (186th overall) of the 2009 entry draft.
I probably won’t find the time or desire to provide an update after each night of ECHL playoff action, but felt compelled to highlight tonight’s box score from the Las Vegas Wranglers’ 6-4 win over the Utah Grizzlies.
Before a sitting-room only crowd of 1,882 at Orleans Arena, the Wranglers not only enjoyed eight power plays to the Grizzlies’ four, but were awarded two penalty shots (missing both). Utah didn’t get any free shots. If you watched the Reign’s three-game series in Las Vegas last weekend and felt there was a home-team bias of some sort (guessing that a few of you might fall into that category), this might help you sleep a little easier tonight.
Note also that Andy Thiessen, who refereed Thursday’s Reign-Wranglers game, as well as the Reign’s season-ending loss to Stockton in the 2009 playoffs, was the referee in Las Vegas tonight. Not an accusation of bias, just an observation.
A couple notes from around the ECHL playoff rosters, which teams submitted to the league Monday:
• The Ducks just unloaded several stud players on the Bakersfield Condors for the playoffs: veteran NHL forward Kyle Calder, goaltender Jean-Philippe Levasseur, forward MacGregor Sharp and defenseman Stu Bickel. Calder, Sharp and Levasseur have spent time in the NHL, AHL and ECHL this season.
• If you’re looking for someone to root for, two former Reign players dot the league’s roster: Utah Grizzlies defenseman Brian Kilburg and Toledo Walleye forward Sal Peralta.