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.
Couture leads the Reign with 20 goals this season and leads the ECHL with 10 power-play goals. He also leads the team in penalty minutes (149), shots on goal (152), and his 41 points are second to C.J. Stretch, who is currently playing for the AHL’s Houston Aeros.
Cloud has five goals and 13 points in 27 games, and his 120 penalty minutes are second on the team to Couture. His 12 fighting majors lead the team and rank fifth in the ECHL.
Tarasuk leads all Reign defensemen with six goals, 20 assists, 26 points and 13 power-play assists this season. He is the only Reign player who has appeared in all 44 games this season, a streak that will end tomorrow night.