Can the Jackals visit the Inland Empire more than one weekend a year?
The first-ever interconference game at CBBA, a true contrast in coaching philosophies and playing styles, needed the shootout to determine a winner. It resulted in a badly needed two points for the Reign, who kept pace with the victorious Victoria Salmon Kings (2-0 over Las Vegas) to remain nine points out of seventh place.
After Andrew Sweetland’s forehand wrister beat Beau Erickson in the second round, Jordan Morrison answered on the next shot by waiting out Garrett Zemlak with a high forehand wrister. In the fifth and final round, Justin Taylor reached around Zemlak’s back leg to put the Reign ahead for good. Erickson denied A.J. Perry on the other end to seal the win – the Reign’s second in the shootout this season.
Chaz Johnson scored two goals against the team he played for from 2007-10, Shawn Collymore scored a pair of goals, and Morrison added three assists.
It was a gutsy performance from Taylor, who didn’t play the entire second period after being leveled to the ice on a clean shoulder-to-shoulder check into the boards late in the first. He looked especially slow on his skates in the third period compared to a fast, fast Elmira team, but speed was not needed in the shootout. Just the long reach.
More game details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Bulletin. A few more notes:
• The eight regulation goals arrived were scored in almost the opposite fashion as one might expect. For as much as they tried to push the tempo, Elmira didn’t score any of its four goals on breakaways (Erickson was extremely sharp in 1-on-1 situations, which is why Taylor said he left him out for the shootout instead of pulling him for shootout ace Mike Zacharias). For as much as the Reign tried to slow the tempo, two of their goals – their first, by Johnson, and fourth, by Collymore – were scored on breakouts.
• Even though the Reign had some success playing the up-and-down game, Karl Taylor would have preferred his heart rate remained more constant. “I thought when we kept the puck down low behind their D, I thought we did a lot of good things down there, but when we started playing run and gun, that’s definitely not what we want to do with that team.”
• The power play fizzled on a couple 5-on-3s and finished 1-for-8 total. “We just forced it. Guys are trying to make individual plays there. We’ve got to tune that in. When you don’t score on two 5-on-3s that are almost two minutes, you’re probably going to lose. … Guys were working hard, but we were fortunate today.”
• Johnson downplayed the emotions of scoring twice against his old team. “it was kind of a special feeling, really the only team I’ve played for in the East Coast Hockey League was the Elmira Jackals. … It was good to see the colors. I didn’t have too many memories because I only know two guys. That’s why my nerves were really low.”
• Why did Justin Taylor shoot last? “A couple days ago, we had a shootout competition and he won. Guys who win the shootout competition, you better use him in the shootout (even though) he was 0-for-2 on the shootout on the year.”
• Shawn Germain returned to the lineup after missing the last two with a hand injury. Jordan Hill (leg) missed the game; the results of his x-rays weren’t immediately available. The Reign rotated five defensemen again.