Bill Bagron and Kyle Kraemer scored the goals, and Jase Weslosky made 28 saves as the Reign dropped their first of two exhibition games against the Wranglers.
An unusually fast-tempo game — unusual, at least, by the more conservative standard set by Karl Taylor — worked in the Reign’s favor early. The goals by Bagron and Kraemer provided a 2-0 lead early in the second period, but Vegas shut the door with four unanswered goals.
Longtime Reign foe Ned Lukacevic got Vegas on the board at the 10:12 mark, putting back a long rebound from a bad angle under pressure after Weslosky stoned Chris Francis at the front of the net. The power-play goal shifted the momentum in favor of the Wranglers, who outshot Ontario 15-6 in the second period and 13-9 in the third.
Judd Blackwater’s goal with 3:15 left in the third period broke a 2-2 tie and Adam Miller provided the final score with 1:24 left. More game details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.
A few observations that won’t make the paper:
• The new defenseman, Philippe Seydoux, comes with an interesting story. If he makes the Reign’s opening-day roster (looking like a good bet at this point; he was credited with a team-high four shots on goal) Seydoux can play his first game ever on North American ice after spending nine seasons in the Swiss “A” League. Even though he’s a physically mature 26-year-old, he will not count toward the ECHL limit of four veterans per team. I’ll have more about him in Tuesday’s notebook (the first of the season).
• Weslosky made some outstanding saves along the way. Lukacevic, Blackwater and Adam Miller probably should have been wrapped up by the backcheck before they got their shots off, while Michael Busto beat him with a hard wrister. Weslosky faced 28 shots over the final two periods — not a good stat for the Reign.
• Kraemer singled out the line of Geoff Irwin, C.J. Stretch and Brady Calla as having a strong game. Even though the line didn’t score, it’s hard to disagree. Christie rolled four lines and three defense pairs:
Jordan Morrison-August Aiken-Dean Yakura (whose last name was misspelled “Yukura”)
Kraemer-Francois Brisebois-Derek Couture
Shayne Neigum-Bill Bagron-J.D. Watt
Iain McPhee-Phillippe Seydoux
Jeff MacPhee-Pat Bowen
Dylan Yeo-Travis Gawryletz
• No fights tonight, a rarity for an ECHL preseason game.
• Brian Cooke of Los Angeles, who took part in the Reign’s inaugural training camp, was listed on the Wranglers’ roster but didn’t play.
• Since all tickets were the same price ($10), almost all of the announced crowd of 4,728 sat in the lower bowl. That made for a nice atmosphere at CBBA.