Defenseman Lane Caffaro and goalie Beau Erickson made their Reign debuts in Victoria last week. Both were last-minute acquisitions – Caffaro when defenseman Pat Bowen couldn’t travel to Canada because he didn’t have a passport, and Erickson when Martin Jones was summoned to the American Hockey League.
And both validated their presence in Ontario with a strong debut performance on short notice.
Caffaro gets the crown for the slightly more taxing travel adventure.
“I didn’t get much sleep for two days,” he said. “I found out about the
trade around 10 a.m. Monday, and drove 13 hours here, slept for 2 hours
at the apartment, then hopped on a plane to go to Vic.”
Caffaro produced nonetheless, with two assists in his first game Wednesday and another helper two days later. Both games resulted in losses for the Reign, but Caffaro played in all situations – even strength, power play, penalty kill – and logged more than 20 minutes by his own estimation.
“I take a lot of pride defensively, taking care of my own end,” he said,
“but playing in most situations and chipping in offensively is something
I look forward to doing.”
Caffaro hadn’t found the scoreboard in two games for the Idaho Steelheads, and welcomed the change of scenery even though he wasn’t familiar with the Reign, even as an opponent.
“I’ve heard nothing but good
things from players around the league, coaches,” he said.
Mike Zacharias, whom the Reign dealt to Idaho in the preseason, “was there for a couple weeks while I was there,” Caffaro said. “Great kid – I talked
to him getting traded from here, he still had nothing to say so that was
Erickson’s travel day to Ontario began a little earlier.
“I found out on Thursday
around 5:30 East Coast time that I got traded to Ontario,” he said. “Karl called me
up, we talked for quite a bit, and then he told me I was going to
Ontario. So I got up around 3:50 in the morning East Coast time, got to
the airport at 5:23. Flew from Charlotte to San Francisco, bussed two
hours from San Francisco to Stockton. Got into Stockton that night.
Bussed here with the team, then just got back from the Victoria trip, so
I’m trying to find my sleep.”
Fortunately for Erickson, he didn’t have to play for a week after he arrived. Unfortunately, he began that game (on Friday) on the bench. After Kellen Briggs started and allowed three goals in the first 22:45, Erickson entered the game and allowed two quick goals in seven minutes.
“Coming off the bench, it’s always a
tough thing,” Erickson said. “You don’t really got a lot of warm-ups, but you just try to
stop the bleeding. It took a little while to find my edges out there
but I felt pretty good once I started settling into the third period.
“This week I should settle in, get some first practices, get going.”
Erickson played against the Reign twice last season and lost both times – Jan. 23 in Utah and Feb. 27 in Ontario. In the latter game, a second-period goal by Mike Egener broke a 1-1 tie and lifted the Reign to a 3-1 win.
As the old saying goes, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
“I was really happy when I
found out I was coming in,” he said. “It’s a great organization. We (Utah) played against these guys and they’re always a good
organization with good fans.”