You can’t win ’em all.
The Reign got their first loss of the season out of the way Friday, 3-1 to the Stockton Thunder at Stockton Arena. The good news? The home opener is tomorrow, and it’s the last time the Reign will face the Thunder until Jan. 21, 2011 after having played each other four times to start the season — six, if you include the preseason.
All four goals were scored on the power play. The Thunder went 3-for-8 with the man advantage and the Reign went 1-for-9. Chris D’Alvise (12:30 of the 1st period), Chris Lawrence (17:14 of the 1st) and Aaron Clarke (5:42 of the third) gave Stockton a comfortable 3-0 lead. Lawrence’s came during a 5-on-3 shift; the others came during 5-on-4 shifts.
With seven seconds left on their eighth power play of the night, the Reign finally solved Stockton netminder Tyson Sexsmith as Jon Francisco tipped a David Walker slap shot in at 12:02.
Reign goaltender Kellen Briggs (1-1) made some spectacular saves among his 29, but Sexsmith stopped 23 of the 24 shots that came his way.
Forward Pierre-Andre Bureau made his Reign (and professional) debut on a line with Francisco and Jeff Corey, and registered one shot on goal. Luke Popko and C.J. Stretch were the scratches. Newly-acquired goaltender Beau Erickson served as the backup to Briggs.
Update: Karl Taylor told the Stockton Record that the Reign’s nine penalties totaling 26 minutes were too much to overcome, including Luke Beaverson’s 10-minute misconduct, which followed a hooking call against the Reign defenseman and an unsportsmanlike conduct minor for disputing the initial call:
“You have to adjust to how the officials call a game, and they called it
tight both ways,” Taylor said. “There was a lot of
penalties we deserved, and the insurance goal turns out to be one where
we shoot our mouth off and get what we deserve. It was the right call.”