The Reign gutted out a 2-1 shootout win against Las Vegas that ended their losing streak at three, and ended their season-long home losing streak at 6. For those of you who attended the game and have never seen a Reign home victory before, that thing where the players gather around The Dragon at center ice and raise their sticks to the crowd? It’s been standard post-victory protocol for three years now.
Dusty Collins and Shawn Collymore scored goals in the shootout, Kellen Briggs made a total of 40 saves – including one on a last-second breakaway – and the Reign were a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill, including a pair of 5-on-3s.
They did all this despite the absence of Jon Francisco, Chad Starling, Chaz Johnson and Pierre-Andre Bureau – who was traded to the Stockton Thunder for future considerations prior to the game.
Here are a few notes that won’t appear in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin:
• David Walker played his 150th game in a Reign uniform, probably played more than 30 minutes (including time killing both 5-on-3 penalties) and picked up the secondary assist on Jordan Morrison’s 5-on-3 goal.
• If anyone matched Walker’s minutes total, it was defnseman Lane Caffaro, who also helped kill both 5-on-3 disadvantages.
• There was a reason the Reign failed to garner any significant momentum from their big penalty kills. Said coach Karl Taylor: “We ran some guys pretty hard there with some pretty big minutes. Guys sitting on the bench who aren’t killing have to be ready to push back, but it’s kind of a catch-22. They’ve been sitting there for three or four minutes on the bench, so their legs potentially get heavy. They’re rested but they’re not in the flow.”
• Newcomer Justin Taylor was active on the power play and in the faceoff circle all night. “He flew all day, had a physical, had a three-minute talk with me, and we threw him into the lineup. Tough circumstances for him. I thought he did well. He had a couple good looks. Hopefully he’s going to help us up our goal total,” Karl Taylor said.
• The Reign were outshot, 37-32, but their 32 shots on goal were their most since Oct. 30. It was only the fourth time all season the Reign have cracked the 30-shot plateau. Putting shots on goal “was our focus tonight,” Karl Taylor said.