It came as no surprise to anyone who watched Kellen Briggs dominate the Alaska Aces last weekend that the Reign goalie was named ECHL Goaltender of the Week today.
Briggs recorded a win in three consecutive games at Sullivan Arena, finishing the week with a save percentage of .952 and a goals-against average of 1.66. Briggs turned aside 38 shots in a 2-1 victory on Friday, stopped 31 shots in a 4-3 win on Saturday, and then made 30 saves in a 2-1 victory on Sunday.
It’s the second time Briggs has been honored as Goaltender of the Week. From Nov. 19-25 he went 2-0-0 with a 0.50 GAA, and .973 save percentage for the Idaho Steelheads.
The 27-year-old is 4-5-1 in 11 games, posting a 2.79 goals-against average and a save percentage of .912.
Right wing Jeff Corey, who had a strong week for the Reign in Alaska, was passed over for the ECHL Player of the Week award. Brad Snetsinger of Utah got the nod.
Former Reign defenseman Colten Teubert, sidelined since the beginning of training camp as he recovered from off-season wrist surgery, has been activated by the Kings and assigned to the Manchester Monarchs.
Teubert had a goal and three points during a 10-game stint last season, during which he fractured a scaphoid bone in what he called “a routine body check” in a game against the Alaska Aces. A first-round pick by the Kings in 2008, Teubert has never played above the ECHL level. The 6-foot-4 blueliner had one assist in eight regular-season games, and another assist in six playoff games, for the Reign in 2009.
Power-play goals by center Dusty Collins and defenseman David Walker gave the Reign a 2-1 win Sunday, completing three-game road sweep of the Alaska Aces.
Collins, playing his fifth game of the ECHL season, scored his first goal of the season 44 seconds into the middle period. Since returning from the American Hockey League, the veteran has a goal and four assists.
Walker added an insurance goal at 16:50, the first of the season for the team captain. That proved crucial when Aces winger Wes Goldie scored with 40 seconds left in the game to provide the final score.
Goaltender Kellen Briggs started all three games of the series in goal and stopped 30 of 31 shots. Defenseman Eric Doyle had two assists in his third game back from an upper-body injury, giving him six points (goal, five assists) in seven games this season. Jeff Corey and Jordan Morrison also had assists.
The Reign (5-6-0-1) went 2-for-4 on the power play and killed all three man-advantage shifts for the Aces (7-4-1-0), who entered the series with the best record in the Western Conference.
The Reign return home for a six-game homestand beginning Friday against the Victoria Salmon Kings.
The Reign have a modest winning streak going, and this time they didn’t need overtime.
Jeff Corey scored two more goals, giving him three in the first two
games of the three-game series, and lifting the Reign to their second
win over the Alaska Aces in as many days. Corey scored once on the power
play, once short-handed, and Lane Caffaro and Jon Francisco also scored
for the Reign (4-6-0-1).
Kellen Briggs, who had 37 saves in an overtime win Friday, stopped 31 of 34 shots in net. Center Dusty Collins
had three assists and defenseman David Walker had two helpers for the
Reign, who can finish off the three-game sweep today at Sullivan Arena.
Alaska (7-3-1-0) pulled ahead 2-1 at 12:35 of the middle period on Wes Goldie’s second goal of the game, but Caffaro’s power-play goal at 17:08 tied the game at 2.
Corey, who has quite a history of success at Sullivan, leads the team with six goals and 10 points in 11 games. Defenseman Eric Doyle picked up an assist in his first action after missing five games with an upper-body injury. He was activated from IR, and center C.J. Stretch took his place, prior to the game.
Karl Taylor said Monday that he hoped the Reign’s seven-game losing streak amounted to “our slump for the season.” That thinking seems less wishful, and a bit closer to reality, after a 2-1 overtime win in Alaska on Friday.
The Reign won despite being outshot 39-14. Kellen Briggs made 37 saves, and Jeff Corey’s end-to-end goal ended the game 39 seconds into overtime. Michael Pelech scored with 9:19 left in the third period to tie the game at 1, his first goal coming in his second game back from the American Hockey League.
The two teams play again Saturday night at Sullivan Arena.
This weekend’s three-game series between the Reign and Alaska Aces is a homecoming of sorts for defenseman Luke Beaverson, who called Sullivan Arena home during his four-year career at the University of Alaska-Anchorage.
Sullivan is notable for being the only rink in the ECHL’s Western Conference (it’s also believed to be the only pro rink in North America) with Olympic dimensions. Unlike the 85-by-200-foot playing surface used by most North American teams (including the Reign), an Olympic rink is 98 feet wide.
“Every time you think you’re running out of room, you’ve got an extra five feet, Beaverson said. “Defensively and offensively, that can be an advantage if you’re driving wide on a guy, and a D-man like me who’s been used to playing on an NHL-sized rink, got an extra five feet wide.
“The guy can beat you wide. There’s a lot of extra room out there. The corners are deeper. It’s just a little different.”
All the bus rides, all the broken bones, all the long penalty-kill shifts merely mean that Chad Starling made the ECHL All-Decade Team the hard way.
No defenseman has played more regular-season games in the league from 2000-01 to 2009-10 than the 30-year-old Starling. Of his 503 games played, 153 have come in a Reign uniform, making him the only player among the 13 named to the All-Decade Team to play for Ontario.
Starling, who has also played for the Cincinnati Cyclones, Utah Grizzlies and Peoria Rivermen since 2001, said – unprompted – that “the best place to play by far is Ontario.”
“Coming to California, this was definitely a highlight. Winning the Kelly Cup (with Cincinnati in 2008) is a highlight.”
More from Starling in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin. Here’s the rest of the team, which was announced today:
Good news for the Reign blue line came today, when Eric Doyle was cleared for full contact. The rookie had a goal, three points, and a plus-2 rating in four games before suffering a lower-body injury. The Reign went 2-1-1 with Doyle in the lineup and 0-6-0 without him.
The recovery process hasn’t been as fast for forward James McEwan, who still hasn’t received medical clearance to rejoin the lineup. The enforcer, who expected to return in late October following off-season wrist surgery, still hasn’t joined the team.
In case you missed today’s notebook, including items on new captain David Walker, the team’s seven-game losing streak, Kellen Briggs’ workload, and an alumni update, read it right here.
The Reign started weakly, pushed back to forge a tie in the second period, then allowed two breakaway goals and an empty-netter in the final period to see their losing streak reach seven games.
The Aces broke a 2-2 tie with goals by Alex Dzielski and Ethan Cox, on a pair of odd-man rushes 56 seconds apart in the third period. All that did was ruin a Reign comeback from an early 2-0 deficit on second-period goals by Luke Beaverson and Matt Delahey.
Kellen Briggs made 27 saves for the Reign (2-6-1), who travel to Anchorage this week to get some revenge on the Aces (7-2-0-0).
More in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.
As expected, center Michael Pelech and defenseman Jordan Hill were officially added to the Reign’s roster for tonight’s game against the Alaska Aces.
The Reign will try to snap their six-game losing streak in different uniforms – specially designed red, white and blue uniforms in honor of Military Night – which will then be auctioned off to fans after the game. Proceeds will be distributed to veterans organizations throughout Southern California.
A number of local military members and their families are expected to be in attendance.