ECHL awards roundup.

A few more ECHL awards were handed out today and Monday, none for the Reign, but just to get caught up:

• Mark Derlago of the Idaho Steelheads is the recipient of the Reebok Plus Performer of the Year award after finishing with a plus-minus rating of +34 in 60 games. (The Reign’s plus-minus leader, for what it’s worth, is Jon Francisco at plus-12).

• Justin Donati of the Elmira Jackals has been named CCM Rookie of the Year and the recipient of the John A. Daley Memorial Trophy. Richard Bachman of the Idaho Steelheads was the runner-up for the award.

• Derek Laxdal of the Idaho Steelheads is the 2009-10 recipient of the John Brophy Award as the league’s Coach of the Year. Laxdal was among the National Conference coaches behind the bench at the 2010 ECHL All-Star Game in Ontario. Cail MacLean of the South Carolina Stingrays was the runner-up.

• The winner of the Defenseman of the Year award will be announced on Wednesday.

Reign pack their bags, Voce calls it a career.

When the Reign packed up their equipment and left The Bank one last time on Monday, the moment meant a little more to Tony Voce, who announced that Saturday’s game in Las Vegas was the last of his professional career.

The 29-year-old forward is moving back to Philadelphia to be with his wife and family. He said he wasn’t the same after the knee injury that cost him a month of the season in November and December.

“I was hurt most of the year,” he said. “Once it was done, it’s done.”
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Reign 7, Las Vegas 1.

Looking more relaxed than they had all season, the Reign exploded for seven goals, and got a 27-save effort from Mike Zacharias. However high of a note they could go out on, one day after missing the playoffs, the Reign found it.

It was a particularly good night for Chad Starling, Colten Teubert, Jordan Nolan and C.J. Stretch, each of whom scored his first goal of the season. Greg Hogeboom scored his team-leading 32nd, Geoff Walker scored his 7th and Mike Egener his 11th.

Tim Kraus picked up three assists and Walker added two helpers. Teubert and Starling both finished plus-4 and the Reign killed all five short-handed situations.

Jon Rheault – who would have been playing his eighth game in 10 days – was held out, as was Peter Lenes, who was ineligible to come off IR. Dan Knapp stepped in for Luis Tremblay on defense.

More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

ECHL history ends tonight.

The Johnstown Chiefs will host their final ECHL game today when they host the Elmira Jackals at 7:05 p.m. The Pennsylvania-based team, forever linked to the cult hockey movie “Slap Shot,” is relocating to Greenville, S.C.

Johnstown is the only one of the ECHL’s original five teams that has played every one of its 22 seasons in the same city. The Chiefs advanced to the Riley Cup Finals in the ECHL’s inaugural season, 1988-89, where they lost to the Carolina Thunderbirds in seven games.

Over the years, whether they played for the local team or were involved in exhibition games, Maurice Richard, Gordie Howe, Andy Brown and Arturs Irbe played at War Memorial Arena.

In the league’s first season, Johnstown had the ECHL’s goaltender of the year, Scott Gordon, who led the league with a 3.82 goals-against average. Gordon, who is in his second season as head coach of the New York Islanders, became the first ECHL player to play in the NHL when he made his debut with the Quebec Nordiques in 1990.

Las Vegas 2, Reign 1.

The Reign’s second season of existence will not end in the playoffs.

Michael Pelech scored the lone goal and Curtis Darling stopped 32 of 34 shots, but the Reign were out of it even before the final horn sounded. That’s because the Victoria Salmon Kings – whom the Reign needed to lose tonight and tomorrow – demolished the Utah Grizzlies, 9-2.

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Ned Lukacevic loaned to AHL.

Good news for Reign fans: Ned Lukacevic, who scored a hat trick for the Las Vegas Wranglers in Thursday night’s 5-2 loss, has been loaned to the Texas Stars of the AHL.

The flashy forward from Serbia has split this season between the ECHL and the AHL. He had two goals and four points in eight games for the Providence Bruins earlier this season after playing 52 games in Providence last season.

Lukacevic has 28 goals and 65 points in 61 games for the Wranglers this season.

Egener, O’Connor hit with fines.

The ECHL has fined Mike Egener and Sean O’Connor “an undisclosed amount as a result of
their actions following” last night’s game against Las Vegas. Egener and O’Connor were both involved in on-ice altercations with Las Vegas players, but the wording by the league suggests that the fine is related to something that happened after the game.

Both were fined under ECHL Rule 29 (Supplementary
Discipline). Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the ECHL
and
the Professional Hockey Players’ Association, player fines collected by
the
ECHL are given to the PHPA for its ECHL Player’s Hardship Fund.

More information if/when we can get it.

Update from Friday’s morning skate.

Today’s morning skate at the Orleans Arena was optional for the Reign, and 11 players took to the ice: Greg Hogeboom, Tim Kraus, Chad Starling, Andrew Martens, Mike Egener, Luis Tremblay, Dan Knapp, Peter Lenes, C.J. Stretch, Jordan Nolan, and Mike Zacharias.

Zacharias was the only goalie on the ice, which in most cases (barring injuries or other unforeseen circumstances) means that he’ll be the backup in the game. Expect Curtis Darling – who turned in a good performance in a losing effort Thursday – to get his second straight start.

I caught up with Nolan and Karl Taylor to discuss Nolan’s pro debut; more on that in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

Here are the elimination scenarios for tonight:

- If the Reign lose in regulation, or Victoria beats Utah (7 p.m. Pacific start time in British Columbia), the Reign are eliminated from playoff contention.
- If the Reign lose in overtime or a shootout, they need Victoria to lose in regulation in order to avoid elimination.
- If the Reign win (either in regulation or in overtime/shootout), they need Victoria to lose (either in regulation or overtime/shootout) to avoid elimination.

Taking all of tonight’s nine potential scenarios into account, the Reign are eliminated in six of them. They need help.

Tonight and tomorrow, get used to the phrase “Go Grizzlies!”