Utah 7, Reign 3.

So much for that momentum from Saturday’s win at The Bank.

Both teams were playing their third game in three nights, but only one showed it, as Utah scored five power-play goals to walk away with the 7-3 win. Shawn Collymore had two goals for the Reign, C.J. Stretch had a goal and an assist, and Kellen Briggs (15 saves on 21 shots) was pulled from a start for just the second time this season.

More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin (but if you’re looking for something uplifting, better turn to the comics page).

A trade, a win, and a couple notes that won’t make tomorrow’s paper.

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:

Continue reading

Injury updates, and a trade.

Jon Francisco was still awaiting the results of an MRI scan on his lower-body injury during the Reign’s morning skate Saturday, but the forward will miss at least the next three weeks regardless of the diagnosis. Francisco was placed on 21-day IR, leaving the Reign without their second-leading goal scorer until at least mid-December.

While Francisco would be eligible to return Dec. 18 against Bakersfield, he might need to take advantage of the eight-day break between that game and the Reign’s Dec. 26 meeting with Las Vegas.

Francisco joins a growing injured list that includes right wing Chaz Johnson (shoulder), forward Kyle Kraemer (knee), and defenseman Chad Starling (lower body). Needing immediate help, the Reign acquired Justin Taylor from the Idaho Steelheads for future considerations.

Taylor, 27, has spent most of his seven professional seasons in the AHL, but started this year in Idaho, playing 10 games and collecting three goals and eight points.

The 6-foot-4, 210-pound center played 36 games for the Las Vegas Wranglers in 2008-09, collecting 13 goals and 30 points. Taylor is expected to fly in from Victoria, British Columbia, where the Steelheads are playing the Salmon Kings, and play in the lineup tonight. He will wear number 19.

Las Vegas 1, Reign 0.

Make it six.

Six weeks into the regular season, six home games at Citizens Business
Bank Arena, zero wins for the Reign in front of their home crowd. That
was the consequence of Friday’s 1-0 loss to the Las Vegas Wranglers –
that, and an injury that knocked Jon Francisco out of the game in the
third period.

The Reign failed to capitalize on five power plays, and allowed a Ryan
Huddy goal during a 5-on-4 power play in the first period that proved to
be the game-winner.

Kellen Briggs stopped 24 of 25 shots in the loss. Defenseman Chad
Starling and right wing Chaz Johnson both missed their first game of the
season. Irvine native C.J. Stretch re-entered the lineup.

We’ll try to get updated information in this space, including Francisco’s status for Saturday night’s rematch against the Wranglers, in the morning.

News and notes from practice.

The Reign had a light practice today, an hour-long, 3-on-3 scrimmage that Karl Taylor hoped would “allow the guys to have some fun and enjoy what they’re doing.” Starting the season 0-4-1 at home sort of creates that need.

Jon Francisco was back on the ice after his bout with the flu. Chaz Johnson (shoulder) and Kyle Kraemer (knee) were not.

Here are few notes that won’t make tomorrow’s notebook:

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Las Vegas 4, Reign 1.

The Reign are still winless at home.

Shawn Collymore’s putback at 11:24 of the third period was the extent of the scoring for the Reign, who struck out on the power play (0-for-4) and lost Chaz Johnson to a shoulder injury on a late second-period fight.

Johnson said after the game he heard a crack in the shoulder pulling down the jersey of his opponent Dan Bertram, who suffered a bloodied nose, but didn’t separate it and only stayed out as a precaution.

Kellen Briggs stopped 19 of 22 in the loss. More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

Victoria 4, Reign 3.

It’s still early in the ECHL season, but the Victoria Salmon Kings seem to have the Reign’s number.

The S-Kings won for the fourth time in four meetings between the teams, 4-3 before 5,657 at The Bank on Friday night. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Reign (5-7-0-1), who continue their six-game homestand tonight against the Las Vegas Wranglers.

Chaz Johnson, Brett O’Malley and Aaron Lewdaniuk scored for the Reign, with Lewadniuk’s goal pulling the Reign within 4-3 at the 4-minute mark of the third period. Kellen Briggs (24 saves) was pulled for an extra attacker late in the third period – and the Reign had a brief 6-on-4 power play thanks to a Victoria penalty with 13 seconds left — but the Reign couldn’t convert.

After Johnson’s goal at 5:23 opened the scoring, Matt Stefanishion and Ryan MacMurchy answered with goals 39 seconds apart in the first period to give Victoria a 2-1 lead. O’Malley tied the game on a severe-angle shot with 1:12 left in the first period for his first professional goal.

The Salmon Kings took a 4-2 lead on second-period goals by Rick Cleaver and Michael Wilson.

Special goalie duel in Stockton.

Here’s the link to today’s story about Reign defenseman Eric Doyle (and his mighty moustache): http://www.sbsun.com/sports/ci_16654606.

Here’s another link to check out: http://echl.com/stats/official-game-report.php?game_id=8124.

You ought to recognize the two goalies who sent a 2-2 game between the Stockton Thunder and Idaho Steelheads into a shootout – both Garrett Zemlak (Stockton) and Mike Zacharias (Idaho) began training camp with the Reign. It’s a testament to their talent, and the fluctuating nature of an ECHL roster, that both were starting for opposing Western Conference teams tonight.

If there were a bigger surprise, it’s that Zacharias didn’t win. The Reign’s shootout hero last season allowed two Stockton goals, while Zemlak allowed only one goal to win the skills competition in his first game with the Thunder.

Stockton has gone on an 8-0-3 run since opening night – when the Reign beat them in their own building – to grab a share of the best record in the league.

Taylor, Pelech on Dwight King.

Karl Taylor and Michael Pelech both exchanged text messages with Dwight King on Tuesday, when King became the first Reign player ever to get an NHL call-up.

(I should point out that Jon Rheault played in five preseason games with the Calgary Flames this season after being invited to their NHL training camp. In terms of regular-season call-ups at least, King’s is the first.)

“We’re very excited for him,” Taylor said. “Hopefully he gets a chance to play, does well. He’s nervous, obviously real excited – a young man getting to chance his dream.”

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Dwight King makes history.

The Kings made left wing Dwight King the first Reign player to be added to an NHL roster on Tuesday, recalling him from the American Hockey League’s Manchester Monarchs.

King was summoned following injuries to a pair of left wings in Los Angeles.

Scott Parse will undergo hip labrum surgery and is expected
to miss 3-4 months. The surgery is expected to
take place next Tuesday in Nashville
and be performed by Dr. Thomas Byrd. Alexei Ponikarovsky fractured a finger Nov. 6 and hasn’t played since, but was finally placed on injured reserve Tuesday.

Head coach Terry Murray said that King figures to slide into Ponikarovsky’s former position at left wing on a line with Michal Handzus and Wayne Simmonds. More in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

King was one of nine former Reign players on AHL rosters at the time of his recall: Jon Rheault, Geoff Walker, Bud Holloway, Jordan Nolan, Jeff Zatkoff, Martin Jones, Colten Teubert and Patrick Mullen.