One fan suggested that he would wear a bag over his head to the next home game – an understandable choice after the Reign’s 10th loss in 11 games at The Bank.
In reality, Friday’s loss wasn’t particularly difficult to watch; the Reign just had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. No lines looked the same as they did in Wednesday’s 7-3 thrashing at the hands of the Las Vegas Wranglers. Some actually displayed tangible chemistry, namely that of Aaron Lewadniuk, Shawn Collymore and Chaz Johnson. Jeff Corey, Justin Taylor and Kyle Kraemer – playing his first game since Oct. 27 – had their moments, too.
The only moment that mattered came at 12:37 of the second period, when Simon Ferguson’s second-chance whack at the net past Beau Erickson crossed the line for the game’s only goal.
Erickson showed no rust in his first 60-minute game since September. Kellen Briggs’ streak of consecutive starts ended at 18.
The Reign drew three power plays in a six-minute span late in the third period, and skated 6-on-5 for the final minute, but couldn’t bury the equalizer.
James McEwan re-entered the lineup and played sparingly, but he did fight with the much larger Nick Tuzzolino (6-5, 225 to 6-0, 191) in the third period. He landed one clean punch to the face with his left hand – the same hand that was surgically repaired in the off-season – so McEwan passed his first major test in his first game back.
The Reign travel to play the Bakersfield Condors at 7 p.m. tonight at Rabobank Arena.
Here are a few notes that won’t make tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin:
• Considering Tim Kraus had been a fairly productive player the last two seasons, I asked Karl Taylor if the trade market was particularly tough right now. “You’re always looking to improve, but it depends on what other people are doing, call-ups, and that kind of stuff,” he said. Read more from Taylor on Kraus in tomorrow’s editions.
• McEwan said he was glad to get his first fight out of the way in his first game back. “It came at a good time. We were down 1. The situation arose where there
was an opportunity. I’m going to get better every day. It’s nice to take
that step. … The opportunity was there, so you can either do something with it or shy away, and I obviously chose to do something.”
• It was easy for McEwan, who only joined the team this week, to look at the positives in the loss. At least compared to the Reign’s last effort. “We took steps forward, definitely. It might not be the result we wanted, but in the big picture it’s a step forward. There was more energy today, guys were hitting a little more. I think if we just get more pucks to the net – at the end we were coming on strong there.”
• Kraemer took it a step farther, saying the third period was “one of our best periods all year.” Playing mostly left wing and on the power play, Kraemer played significant minutes in his first game back after a long layoff. “Toward the end of the game I started feeling like my old self again,” he said. “I felt strong out there.”
• Erickson’s last 60-minute game came in September, when he suited up for the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons against the Texas Stars. He said there was a little rust to shake off in the game’s first five minutes, “but then I just settled in and did what I had to do.” As for starting the last 18 games on the bench, Erickson said, “Briggsy’s been doing great, so I have no problem with what’s going on. I’m happy. I’m just glad I got a chance to play.”