Bakersfield 7, Reign 3.

The Reign suffered their most lopsided loss in the last eight games, temporarily halting their momentum and dashing any plans of quickly gaining ground in the Western Conference standings.

The game slipped gradually away after goals by Luke Beaverson and Jordan Morrison 18 seconds apart gave the Reign a 2-1 lead at 2:48 of the second period. Beaverson’s goal, helped by a net-front screen by C.J. Stretch, avenged Pascal Morency’s first-period putback for Bakersfield.

Morrison completed a 2-on-1 breakaway thanks to a great cross pass from Chaz Johnson, with Doug Krantz picking up the second assist.

The rest was (almost) all Condors, who scored six unanswered goals to send the Reign to their ninth loss in 11 head-to-head meetings this season. Morency and Guillaume Levebvre scored two goals apiece, and linemate Brad Snetsinger finished with three assists. Three others scored one goal apiece.

Shawn Collymore completed the scoring with a quick wrist shot past Brian Stewart (27 saves) with 34 seconds left, his team-leading 17th goal of the season.

Beau Erickson was the hard-luck loser. He had to face a season-high 53 shots for the second straight night, finishing with 46 saves.

The two teams play again at 6 p.m. Sunday in Bakersfield.

Bakersfield 5, Reign 4, SO.

Stephane Goulet’s goal in the first shootout round was the difference in a back-and-forth game at Rabobank Arena.

The Reign fell 61 seconds short of a much-needed regulation win. Trailing 4-3 late in the game, Condors coach Marty Raymond called timeout and pulled starting goalie Brian Stewart for an extra attacker. Six seconds later, Joel Broda deposited a wrist shot over the glove of Beau Erickson to tie the game at 4.

Erickson could hardly be faulted for the loss. Making his second straight start, Erickson faced 53 shots over the first 65 minutes, then five more in the shootout, recording a season-high 49 saves. Shawn Collymore, Chaz Johnson, Aaron Lewadniuk and Brett O’Malley scored for the Reign (18-29-2-3, 41 points), who fell 10 points behind the victorious Victoria Salmon Kings in the race for the seventh and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

By picking up the extra point, Bakersfield (25-23-2-1, 53 points) moved 12 points ahead of the Reign. Broda, Michael Gergen and Andrew Ianeiro scored the other goals for the Condors.

A few more notes:

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Looking ahead to Bakersfield.

Facing an almost impossibly large deficit in the Western Conference standings, it goes without saying that every series is crucial for the Reign. Given their head-to-head history with Bakersfield this season (the Condors have won 7 of the 9 games), it doesn’t get much bigger than three games in three days at Rabobank Arena beginning today.

“We’re in a situation where we have to win a lot of games to give ourselves a chance,” coach Karl Taylor said, “and even if we win a lot of games we might not get a chance because of the hole we dug.”
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Reign 2, Stockton 1, OT.

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:
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Tough choices in goal, on defense.

Expect a starting goalie matchup of Beau Erickson for the Reign and Bryan Pitton for the Stockton Thunder, based on the looks of things at the morning skate for both teams today at Citizens Business Bank Arena.

Erickson was in goal for wins Friday and Saturday against Elmira, while Mike Zacharias took the only loss of the weekend. But Erickson won despite allowing nine goals in the two games, while Zacharias only allowed two goals in the loss.

Reign coach Karl Taylor is hoping one goalie will make the decision-making process easier.

“We’re trying to get someone to take the ball and run with it. We prefer to have one guy,” Taylor said. “We’ll see.”
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Estimating the Reign’s playoff chances.

Many of you are probably familiar with the website SportsClubStats.com. In my professional opinion, its founder/inventor should be the richest man on the planet by now.

My blog is at least 2 percent richer for the fact that I can tell you the Reign’s chances of making the playoffs currently stand at 3.1 percent. Using a computer to crunch the number for every possible record, for every team, for the remainder of the season, that’s the figure sportsclubstats.com came up with. Based on the Reign’s current standing (9 points behind Victoria for the seventh and final playoff spot), it should come as no surprise.

There’s plenty more on the site to throw your brain into if you enjoy being a stat geek, and have some time to kill at work. Especially if you go beyond the ECHL (permutations are calculated for the NHL, AHL and KHL too).

Also, go check out today’s notebook if you haven’t already.

(One reason) why the Reign don’t score a lot, and Elmira does.

There’s a method to the high-scoring madness in the Eastern Conference.

First, the numbers: The seven highest-scoring ECHL teams play in the East, led by last weekend’s opponent, the Elmira Jackals, with 3.65 goals per game.

A number that seems unrelated, at a glance, is 51. That’s how many players (including goalies) have appeared in an Elmira uniform this season.

What’s the connection?
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Elmira 3, Reign 1.

All good things – like winning streaks and interconference series – must come to an end.

Clearly tired at the end of their third game in three nights, and fourth in five days, the Reign sputtered to a 3-1 loss in their series finale against Elmira. The Reign started strong but managed just four shots in the third period and couldn’t convert on the power play after the first period.

The Jackals halted their four-game losing streak on the strength of two goals by Jason Bailey and another by Patrick Coulombe, who potted the game-winner during a 4-on-3 power play with 1:43 left in the third period. Bailey’s goal into an empty net with 3.2 seconds left completed the scoring.

Chaz Johnson scored the Reign’s only goal by deflecting a point shot by David Walker past TImo Pielmeier at 8:58 of the first period.

Mike Zacharias stopped 32 in one of those puzzling games for a goalie. Two fairly straightforward shots, by Bailey in the first period and Coulombe in the third, got past him. The rest of the game, facing one breakaway after another, he was perfect – strong positionally and when he needed to move laterally in the crease.

More details in tomorrow’s editions.
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Reign 6, Elmira 5, OT.

Alex Bourret’s goal with 1:04 left in overtime gave the Reign something they’ve been waiting a long time for: Back-to-back wins at home.

Jordan Morrison completed a four-point game by corralling the rebound of a David Walker shot behind the net, then spotting Bourret streaking through the right faceoff circle for the game-winner.

That capped an impressive comeback by the Reign (17-28-2-2), who had trailed Elmira by scores of 3-0, 4-1 and 5-3. Morrison, Chaz Johnson, Shawn Collymore and Kyle Kraemer also scored goals. Johnson finished plus-3 and was on the ice for all but one of the Reign’s goals.

The six-goal outburst matched a season high, and the win brought them within seven points of seventh-place Victoria (21-25-1-2) in the Western Conference standings.

Beau Erickson was fighting the puck early, but benefited from some third-period adjustments that allowed the Reign to spend more time in the offensive zone and outshoot Elmira 10-7. Erickson finished with 27 saves.

Timo Pielmeier (22 saves) started the week as the Ducks’ backup goalie, but finished on the losing end of his first game with the Jackals.

Because I didn’t mention it in the paper: The Reign were sporting vintage Forum-blue-and-gold Kings jerseys, with a crown on the front of the sweater and the Reign logo on the shoulder patch. They looked sharp.

Because they were auctioned off after the game, they won’t be worn again. And because they play in the Eastern Conference, Elmira won’t be back this season after tomorrow.

The Reign would probably like to see both the jerseys and the Jackals back.

More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

Reign 5, Elmira 4, SO.

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:
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