David Walker’s backdoor goal 2:01 into overtime lifted the Reign to a victory in a strange game at Citizens Business Bank Arena. Shawn Collymore had the Reign’s other goal – at least, he was credited with the goal by the official scorer – and Beau Erickson had some highlight-reel saves in a solid 29-save performance.
Even the one goal he allowed, to Fraser Clair at 12:22 of the third period, was controversial.
As Erickson described it: “It was a 4-on-2 coming my way. I think Freddy (Jason Fredricks) went down to block it. It went off him and it came to me, bouncing, kind of like the play before. It bounced off and it went off my pad. As I was watching, the net looked like it was off. It went inside the net. They called it a goal.”
The officials had a lengthy discussion at the scorer’s table, and a conference with the off-ice official standing behind the goal, but there wasn’t enough to change the initial ruling of a good goal.
Some more oddities from tonight’s game:
• Forwards Chaz Johnson and Alex Bourret were both game-day scratches. Johnson is still dealing with flu symptoms from last weekend. Bourret was struck in the back of his head by a deflected puck during the pregame warmup – as fluky as hockey injuries get. That left Collymore without both of his usual wingers. “You put McEwan on the left side there, and he does a good job getting the pucks out and finishing his hits. Of course I would have liked to play with Bourret tonight. He’s a good player. But Mac stepped up. C.J. Stretch had some good shifts as well.” No word yet on the prognosis of Johnson and Bourret for the weekend series in Bakersfield. Or Collymore, for that matter. “Chaz and I are roommates,” he said. “I’m actually not feeling the greatest myself.”
• No penalties were called until 6:53 remained in the second period, which is almost unheard of for the ECHL. Starting in the third period, the law of averages kicked in as the teams started trading penalties. Things really got weird when, with 2.6 seconds left in the third period, Beau Erickson was hit with a two-minute minor for high-sticking Stockton’s Garet Hunt. Michael Pelech served the penalty, which carried over to the overtime period and gave the Thunder a 4-on-3 advantage to start. But a hooking penalty to Dan Ringwald (who had been playing an outstanding defensive game for Stockton) turned it into a 3-on-3 game 22 seconds into OT. Finally, a Kelly Czuy tripping penalty at 1:08 gave the Reign a 4-on-3 advantage, and Walker’s winning goal came on 5-on-3 power play, four seconds after Pelech stepped out of the box.
• Jordan Hill (leg) missed his fourth straight game as the Reign skated five defensemen again. There were a couple shifts in which it seemed like the Reign couldn’t get out of their own end, and it’s easy to wonder if fatigue isn’t a factor. Erickson was tested more often than he probably should have been, but got away with it. After the game, multiple players expressed a desire to reward their goalie with a shutout. It didn’t happen, but it was close.
• Collymore said that his goal was actually deflected into the net by Dusty Collins at the front of the crease. If the goal stands as Collymore’s, he is tied with Chaz Johnson for the team lead with 16. If the goal is re-credited to Collins, he’ll have nine on the season.
• The video room was without replay capabilities, which only added to the strangeness of the evening. So I’m taking Collymore’s word for it.