Among the topics that space didn’t allow for in yesterday’s game story was that the Reign have allowed 12 goals in their last two games, more than in their previous five games combined.
While the team was deservedly pleased with their number of scoring chances in Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to the Bakersfield Condors, “four goals should be enough to win you a hockey game,” defenseman David Walker said. “You can’t give up that many goals.”
It’s probably no coincidence that shutdown defenseman Chad Starling and center Jon Francisco, among the team’s best defensive forwards, missed both Sunday and Wednesday’s games with lower-body injuries.
Arguably more troubling than allowing five goals was where all five goals came from – a conservative estimate would be within 20 feet of the net. The last four were scored directly off rebounds. The first came when Adam Naglich had a step on the defense and put a late move on goaltender Kellen Briggs at the net front.
Starling in particular has made a living clearing pucks and people out from in front of his goalies since 2001.
Said Walker, “Anytime you miss a guy who’s played 10 years in professional hockey, it’s his experience. Our team’s not based on one or two guys. We miss Jon Francisco, we miss Chad Starling. When you have older guys in the lineup you have a little bit more experience in the room. I don’t think that’s an issue right now, but all of us have to be better.”