Friday’s 9-8 shootout win over the Colorado Eagles was a momentous one for the Reign.
It clinched the team’s first playoff berth since the inaugural 2008-09 season with a full 18 games left in the regular season. It pulled the team within two points of first place. It set a season-high in goals scored and allowed several players to pad their stats and streaks:
• Kyle Kraemer (two goals, assist) has assists in six straight games and points in 13 straight – both the second-longest active streaks in the ECHL.
• Everett Sheen (goal, two assists) has goals in four straight games, which matches the longest active streak in the ECHL.
• Tristan King (three assists), Derek Couture (three assists), Alan Mazur (three assists) and Chris Huxley (goal, two assists) all had three-point games.
But let’s also not forget this light moment, the one that earned Eagles coach Chris Stewart a game misconduct in the second period:
It’s the kind of only-in-minor-league-hockey clip that tends to gain traction on the internets. It might even get the touch of gold that is a SportsCenter plug.
The Reign traded the rights to defenseman Mike Montgomery to the Reading Royals for left wing Everett Sheen on Tuesday. While coach Jason Christie hasn’t done too much wheeling and dealing the past couple months, perhaps the only question is why this move (or something similar) didn’t happen sooner.
Montgomery, who has been on loan to the American Hockey League’s Houston Aeros all month, had one goal and one assist in 27 games with the Reign. The 25-year-old rookie has played 10 games in the AHL during three separate stints (two with Houston, one with St. John’s). Six of those games have come during the last two weeks, and it could be that Montgomery is becoming an established piece of the Aeros’ blue-line corps.
That’s a little ironic, since Montgomery was skating at forward for the Reign just prior to his February promotion.
Ever since Christie lured defensemen Alan Mazur from England, and Mike Gabinet from temporary retirement, both players have been productive. That’s left little room for Montgomery, Jason Fredricks and lately Pat Bowen to play their natural position. Mazur and Gabinet also have more experience than Montgomery, a quality Christie was looking to add to a young roster. As responsible as Montgomery is — both with and without the puck — he simply wasn’t needed anymore. The Royals can deal with the question of if and when Montgomery will come back from Houston.
The Reign will be forced to play without their leading goal scorer, their top fighter and their highest-scoring defenseman for the near future.
The ECHL suspended right wing Derek Couture for five games, left wing Chris Cloud for four games and defenseman Steven Tarasuk for three games as “a result of actions prior to” Saturday night’s 6-4 victory over the Utah Grizzlies. Cloud was also suspended a fifth game “under
Rule #23.7, which states any player who incurs a total of three (3) game
misconduct penalties for fighting-related infractions shall be
automatically suspended for his team’s next game.”
All three players were fined, as were head coach Jason Christie and the Reign organization.
The league also suspended Grizzlies defenseman Cody Lampl (four games), center Jordan Foreman (four games), and defenseman Matt Sorteberg (three games). They were fined along with two other Utah players (center Mitch Wahl and defenseman Nick Tuzzolino), coach Kevin Colley and the Grizzlies organization.
After Saturday’s game, Colley said that Reign players were “shooting slapshots down at our guys in warmup.” Reign coach Jason Christie said Monday that pucks were flying in both directions during the warmup period, and he was not disappointed with his team’s response.
Messages left for Christie and Reign president Justin Kemp were not immediately returned Tuesday afternoon.
Couture, Cloud, Tarasuk, Lampl, Foreman and Sorteberg all received fighting majors and game misconducts. The game-misconduct penalties will be counted toward each player’s suspension, meaning Couture and Cloud are eligible to return next Wednesday against Stockton, and Tarasuk is eligible to return this Saturday against Utah. Continue reading “Reign hit hard with suspensions.” »