Petizian switches hallways, and what it’s like on the other side.

It’s been more than a month since Alex Petizian played his only game in a Reign uniform, and came up on the short end of a 5-1 loss to the Utah Grizzlies at Citizens Business Bank Arena on Jan. 8.

The goaltender will play his next game at CBBA tonight as a member of the Elmira Jackals.

The Reign traded Petizian to the visiting team this morning, something that Karl Taylor said he’d never done in five and a half seasons coaching in the ECHL.

“It’s a chance for Alex to play,” Taylor said. “We felt our other two guys (Beau Erickson and Mike Zacharias) are better for us right now.”

Petizian isn’t complaining. The rookie out of St. Lawrence University got dressed in the Reign’s locker room, was called into Taylor’s office, then was informed of the trade and walked down the hallway to the visitor’s locker room to join his new team.

Considering his only experience this season consists of parts three games in five months, Petizian welcomed the opportunity.

“It’s good news,” he said. “It’s definitely been tough. Practicing isn’t like being in games consistently. It’s been hard getting into a groove this year.”

Continue reading “Petizian switches hallways, and what it’s like on the other side.” »

Updates on Hill, O’Malley, Erickson’s new mask, and awaiting Elmira.

Jordan Hill was off the ice Thursday, one day after the defenseman suffered a leg injury in the third period of Wednesday’s 4-2 loss to Stockton. He was still waiting on the results of x-rays after the morning practice, but said he doesn’t think he’ll be in the lineup tomorrow. Karl Taylor neither confirmed nor denied.

“I hit the guy hard, and he fell back,” Hill said. “He landed on my leg.”

If the x-rays come back negative, Hill wouldn’t rule out playing Saturday or Sunday against the Elmira Jackals.

Elmira will be a bit of an enigma. Chaz Johnson played the last two years with the Jackals, but said he knows only two players on the current team – R.J. Anderson and Justin Donati. So obviously there’s been a lot of turnover.

Fortunately, Karl Taylor said he’s done video scouting on four Jackals games this season, and David Walker played under their head coach, Malcolm Cameron, for three seasons in Long Beach. More in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Bulletin on what they’re expecting.

Brett O’Malley, meanwhile, revealed that he needed 12 stitches to close a wound in his lip when he was struck by a puck in the third period Saturday. As for his teeth, O’Malley said that one shattered into four pieces, “two teeth were just hanging in there,” and three were recovered on the ice. He’ll wear a wire to protect his teeth for six weeks, and will wear a full plastic face shield indefinitely.

Last but not least, after the jump, check out Beau Erickson’s new mask. It arrived this week, and the goalie was justifiably impressed with the handiwork of his Toronto-area designer. To my knowledge, he’s the first Reign goalie with a Reign-themed mask:
Continue reading “Updates on Hill, O’Malley, Erickson’s new mask, and awaiting Elmira.” »

Stockton 4, Reign 2.

All of the hard hits and unbridled energy of the Reign’s 4-3 win Saturday against Bakersfield had left the building by Wednesday.

Karl Taylor described the 4-2 loss to Stockton, in so many words, as a step backwards. It was tough to disagree. The first 12 minutes of the second period saw the Reign go from up 1-0 to down 3-1, and even a 37-shot effort against Bryan Pitton wasn’t enough to mount a comeback.

Alex Bourret and Michael Pelech scored the goals, and Mike Zacharias made 31 saves.

More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin. Here are a few notes that won’t make the paper:
Continue reading “Stockton 4, Reign 2.” »

Getting ahead of ourselves.

When the Reign host the Stockton Thunder tomorrow, expect to see more changes on the visitor’s bench than the home bench.

Stockton last visited CBBA on Jan. 23, a game that saw former Reign goalie Garrett Zemlak stop 26 of 28 shots in a 4-2 Thunder win. Zemlak has since been traded to the Elmira Jackals — who play the Reign in three straight games beginning Friday — for forward Tyler Donati, who led the ECHL in scoring last season.

One problem: Donati couldn’t pass his physical, which revealed a shoulder injury that required surgery. So that trade was nullified, Zemlak stayed in Elmira, and the Thunder received defenseman Jody Pederson instead. Pederson had a goal and an assist in the Thunder’s last game, a 3-2 win Saturday against the Utah Grizzlies.

Expect Oilers prospect Bryan Pitton to start in goal; Sharks prospect Tyson Sexsmith was recalled to the AHL on Monday and the Thunder signed Matt Pamidi as their emergency backup today.

As expected, the Reign didn’t sneak in any foreign players ahead of yesterday’s deadline, and have stayed off the transactions wire since beating Bakersfield 4-3 on Saturday. Shawn Germain (hand) practiced with the team Tuesday and is day-to-day. He can come off 3-day IR and play tomorrow if he’s healthy. Expect an update after the morning skate.

Important ECHL deadline today.

An important ECHL deadline passed at 2 p.m. today: Any player playing for a team based outside of North America at any time during the 2010-11 season, in order to be eligible to play the remainder of the ECHL season and/or playoffs, must have a signed contract and be placed on an ECHL roster.

Players who return from teams based outside of North America and subsequently play in the NHL/AHL prior to the overseas deadline may be added to an ECHL active roster at any time.

To my knowledge, the Reign didn’t try to sneak anyone in ahead of the deadline, but I’ll get confirmation on that tomorrow. Other ECHL teams might have tried to sign someone, which can create a ripple effect around league rosters, so it’s something to watch out for.

Check out my notebook in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin for items on Kyle Kraemer, David Walker, the Reign’s propensity for getting outshot, and an explanation as to why Bakersfield Condors captain Andrew Ianeiro mysteriously left during the first intermission of Saturday’s game.

Reign 4, Bakersfield 3.

The Reign won at home, and it was really no secret why. Between the three teeth Brett O’Malley left on the ice, a long and courageous fight by David Walker late in the third period, and plenty of blocked shots along the way, the effort was apparent all over the ice.

“We need to have that effort,” coach Karl Taylor said. “That extra 5, 10 percent was there tonight. I thought Bako played well. It was an entertaining game. That’s what it’s all about. There was a lot of sacrifice on the ice by the guys tonight.”

Jordan Morrison’s second-chance goal waith 8:32 left in the third period ended up being the game-winner. The Reign outshot the Condors 39-32, killed all three Bakersfield penalties, and got a solid 29-save performance from Mike Zacharias.

Morrison, Chaz Johnson and Alex Bourret each had a goal and an assist, Shawn Collymore had a pair of assists and Kyle Kraemer scored his second goal in as many games.

A few more notes that didn’t make tomorrow’s story:
Continue reading “Reign 4, Bakersfield 3.” »

Bakersfield 5, Reign 1.

The Bakersfield Condors continue to be a thorn in the Reign’s side this season.

A 5-1 loss at Rabobank Arena on Friday was the Reign’s seventh in eight head-to-head meetings with the Condors this season.

Kyle Kraemer scored the Reign’s only goal – an unassisted tally and his first since Dec. 28 – with 2:28 left in the first period to tie the game at 1.

But the Condors (23-20-1-1) scored four unanswered goals to dispatch the Reign (14-27-2-2), who had gained points in back-to-back games. Five different players scored for Bakersfield.

Goaltender Beau Erickson stopped 36 of 41 shots as the Reign were outshot 41-24. The Reign fell further behind the seventh-place Victoria Salmon Kings, who beat the Alaska Aces 6-2 on Friday, for the final playoff position in the ECHL’s Western Conference.

The Reign host the Condors at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Citizens Business Bank Arena.

Fire on Ice III rosters.

If you’re going to the charity “Fire on Ice” game at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Citizens Business Bank Arena – and before you leave work – you can take a moment to print out the rosters for both the Ontario Fire Department (

ofd fire on ice roster.xls

) and New York Fire Department (

nyfd fire on ice roster.xls

) right here.

Note that Jon Francisco, currently on injured reserve with the Reign, is coaching the Ontario Fire Department team.

Notes from a rare February practice.

The Reign practiced this morning at Citizens Business Bank Arena and that is news in itself. Karl Taylor said the team will only be practicing five times all month, the result of a schedule that includes three sets of three games in three nights.

“We can do video a ton,” Taylor said. “That becomes more of your practice time, your teaching tool. Some people larn by doing, some learn by seeing, some learn by listening. You try to do all of them, ideally, because then you’re nailing all the different types of learners. You’re getting everybody. But some learn better by doing video, watching listening. … We do tons of video. There’s no question we use that as a teaching tool a lot.”

Today’s practice was mostly optional, with most veterans getting the day off. All three goalies were on the ice, as were Pat Bowen, Doug Krantz, Jordan Hill, Jason Fredricks, Jordan Morrison, Kyle Kraemer, James McEwan, Justin Taylor, Brett O’Malley, Aaron Lewadniuk, C.J. Stretch and Michael Pelech.

Most of the work focused on net-front deflections – set plays where the defenseman shoots from a distance and a forward, stationed in front of the goalie, tries to re-direct the puck into the net.

More on that, and the emergence of rookie defenseman Pat Bowen, in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

Idaho 2, Reign 1, OT.

Aki Seitsonen’s goal with 5 seconds left in overtime lifted the Idaho Steelheads to a 2-1 win over the Reign before an announced crowd of 3,261 at Qwest Arena.

Playing their second overtime game in as many nights, the Reign salvaged a point to finish their four-game swing through the Mountain Division 1-1-2.

Mike Zacharias probably deserved better. Playing his first game since the All-Star break, the second-year goaltender stopped 33 of 35 shots against his former teammates, including one on Marty Flichel’s breakaway putback attempt at 3:01 of overtime that momentarily caused the goal judge to light the lamp.

It was one of many clutch saves in a game in which the Reign were outshot 31-22. James McEwan’s first goal of the season, at 4:23 of the first period, was their only success against Idaho goalie Tyler Beskorowany (21 saves). McEwan also had a fight in the first period, but was denied the Gordie Howe hat trick in an otherwise uneventful game for the Reign. Both teams finished 0-for-3 on the power play.

The Reign visit Bakersfield on Friday before playing six straight home games.

As we suggested in this space yesterday, the Reign will need to improve their home record (4-15-0-1) drastically before they can feel comfortable gaining four of a possible eight points on the road. However, considering the quality of their opponents — Utah and Idaho are a close 1-2 in the Mountain Division standings — we may be seeing signs of progress.