Utah 5, Reign 1.

Tom May and the Utah Grizzlies capitalized on 10 power plays in a penalty-filled Reign loss in West Valley City.

May had three of the Grizzlies’ four power-play goals in a game that saw the Reign go 0-for-6 with the man advantage.

Goalie Mike Zacharias faced a 48-shot barrage and stopped 43 with last night’s starter, Beau Erickson, out due to injury. Oliver Freij, a local college student, served as the emergency backup.

James McEwan had 22 of the Reign’s 62 penalty minutes, including a 10-minute misconduct and a match penalty for fighting at 8:14 of the second period. Alex Bourret and Giffen Nyren fought twice; Jordan Hill fought former Reign defenseman Brian Kilburg; and Kyle Kraemer fought Marcus Carroll.

Utah collected 56 penalty minutes of its own in the final meeting between the two teams this season. Ryley Grantham, who had not collected a single penalty minute in his three previous games with the Grizzlies, was awarded 16 in a single third-period altercation with Luke Beaverson.

Defenseman Pat Bowen scored the Reign’s lone goal, at the end of an odd-man rush at 7:41 of the second period.

The scoresheet changed roughly a dozen times within a half-hour of last night’s game, so take this link with a grain of salt.

The Victoria Salmon Kings (27-2-91-2) lost 5-2 to the Bakersfield Condors to remain nine points ahead of the Reign (21-33-2-4, 48 points) in the race for the final Western Conference playoff spot. The clock is ticking on the Reign’s season – they have 12 games left, Victoria has 13 left, and they need to make up at least nine points. Those odds are beyond long.

The Reign get four days off before hosting the Idaho Steelheads on Wednesday.

The turnover on defense (pun intended).

Quick, how many Reign defensemen who played Wednesday were on the team to start the season?
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Reign 3, Utah 2, OT.

It’s beginning to sound like a melodic broken record, but the Reign pulled out a close win on the road Saturday night.

Jeff Corey’s goal at 1:34 of overtime lifted the Reign to victory in a physically charged game in Utah. Back-to-back wins over the Grizzlies have given the Reign an 8-11-0-1 record, matching Bakersfield in the Pacific Division standings with 17 points. Because the Condors have a game in hand, the Reign can technically say they’re out of last place for the first time since Nov. 13.

Corey’s goal was his team-leading eighth of the season. He took a long pass from David Walker and fired it past Andrew Engelage for his second game-winning goal of the season. Walker’s assist was his second of the game and his team-leading 11th on the year.

Aaron Lewadniuk’s sixth goal of the season, during a first-period power play, opened the scoring midway through the first period. Dusty Collins made it 2-0 in the middle period with his second goal this season.

Utah answered with goals from Matt Clarke and Nick Tuzzolino, the latter coming with 5:00 left in the third period.

Starting his 18th consecutive game, Kellen Briggs made 37 saves on a night that saw Utah outshoot the Reign 39-24. The teams combined for nearly as many penalty minutes (60) as shots (63), including a second-period fight between Michael Pelech and Utah’s Marcus Carroll. Ten of the game’s 24 penalties were for roughing, including a pair that were charged to former Reign defenseman Brian Kilburg.

The Reign are unbeaten in five road games in November and December, and all five wins have been by a single goal. Their home record during that span is 1-7, with only a shootout win against the Las Vegas Wranglers in the win column.

The lineup looked the same for the third straight night but that could change against the Wranglers on Wednesday, especially if James McEwan (among others) is cleared to play and gets the nod to make his season debut from coach Karl Taylor.

AHL, ECHL playoff updates.

From the Calder Cup playoffs (American Hockey League):

Bud Holloway scored the second of three goals for the Manchester Monarchs in a 3-1 win over the Portland Pirates on Saturday night. Holloway scored the game-winner a night earlier, and the Monarchs lead 2-0 in the best-of-seven series. Former Reign forward Dwight King did not factor into the scoring in either game, and former Reign goalie Jeff Zatkoff has served as the backup in both.

Jon Rheault was in the starting lineup, but was kept off the scoresheet in a 4-1 loss by the Abbotsford Heat to the Rochester Americans on Saturday. Their series is tied at 1 game apiece.

Dusty Collins and the Manitoba Moose absorbed an 8-2 thumping at the hands of the Hamilton Bulldogs on Saturday. Collins did not figure into the scoring and the Moose head home to Winnipeg trailing 2-0 in the series.

From the Kelly Cup playoffs (ECHL):

Brian Kilburg and the Utah Grizzlies are down two games to none against the Idaho Steelheads after a 4-3 loss in Boise on Saturday. The former Reign defenseman got the starting nod but didn’t score.

Oren Eizenmann’s second goal of the game at 9:01 of overtime lifted the Stockton Thunder to a 4-3 win over the Bakersfield Condors on Saturday. The Thunder are leading 2-0 with the series heading back to Stockton on Tuesday. Bakersfield’s two ex-NHL forwards, MacGregor Sharp and Kyle Calder, have a combined zero goals and zero assists in the two games.

Around the ECHL playoff rosters.

A couple notes from around the ECHL playoff rosters, which teams submitted to the league Monday:

• The Ducks just unloaded several stud players on the Bakersfield Condors for the playoffs: veteran NHL forward Kyle Calder, goaltender Jean-Philippe Levasseur, forward MacGregor Sharp and defenseman Stu Bickel. Calder, Sharp and Levasseur have spent time in the NHL, AHL and ECHL this season.

• If you’re looking for someone to root for, two former Reign players dot the league’s roster: Utah Grizzlies defenseman Brian Kilburg and Toledo Walleye forward Sal Peralta.

Karl Taylor postgame quotes.

Sorry for the delay, guys. Sometimes the internet gods like to shut down my blog server for maintenance overnight and we can’t get these things up as early as possible – but here’s what Karl Taylor had to say about last night’s game, picking up defenseman Luis Tremblay, and watching Brian Kilburg and Patrick Mullen leave.
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Kilburg placed on waivers.

Rookie defenseman Brian Kilburg was placed on waivers today by the Reign. The 25-year-old recorded 40 penalty minutes in 39 games, mostly as a bottom-two defenseman, collecting his only point with an assist on Jan. 22 against the Utah Grizzlies.

Before joining the Reign, Kilburg played three seasons with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm, posting 21 goals, 57 points and 363 penalty minutes in 176 regular-season games. The Mendota Heights, Minn. native spent four seasons with Minnesota State-Mankato, recording five goals, 33 points and 257 penalty minutes in 137 games.

Reign 5, Stockton 3.

First the good news.

The Reign power play came alive; officially they were 2-for-8 with the man advantage, but Tony Voce’s first goal came two seconds after a 5-on-4 shift expired.

The penalty kill was equally impressive, killing 4 of 5 – including a total of 1:37 while down two men late in the third period.

Todd Jackson came back into the lineup and was officially awarded two assists in his debut game. That could be changed upon review; Michael Pelech insisted that he did not touch the puck that Jackson deposited on the goal line in the first period, even though the goal was credited to Pelech, who followed Jackson’s shot to make sure it counted.

The other goals were more clear-cut — Voce scored twice, Jon Francisco and Sean O’Connor scored once, and Curtis Darling stopped 29 of 32 on less than 24 hours’ rest.

Now the bad news: James McEwan was taken to a hospital after his first-period fight with Stockton’s James Bates. McEwan injured his hand in the fight and did not return to the game.

Prior to the game, defenseman Mike Egener went on three-day injured reserve with what Karl Taylor called a “lower body injury,” and was replaced on the blue line by Brian Kilburg. Taylor said there is no timetable yet for Egener to return from Friday’s injury, but 3-day IR certainly leaves more room for optimism than the 7- or 21-day IR.

Peter Lenes, who has not scored a goal since Dec. 12, was scratched for the first time all season in order to make room for Jackson.

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

Reign at Las Vegas, 7 p.m. tonight. Update.

As with any sport, the value of an ECHL preseason game lies less in getting a win as much as assessing the team’s talent, deciding who to keep and who to cut.

“We’ll try to get everybody in and if not, oh well. That’s life,” Reign coach Karl Taylor said.

In a way, this is an even more delicate exercise in the ECHL, with so much turnover from year to year (although the Reign have a particularly high retention rate — 12 of the 30 players who appeared in a game last season are back). But for more than half of his 27 players, Karl Taylor has no frame of reference for how they’ll execute for him in a game. On the other hand, there can be as much turnover during the ECHL season as the off-season because of AHL recalls, injuries, trades, and the occasional roster cut. Maybe none of the players on tonight’s roster will make it through to the end of the season in Ontario.

That said, here they are:
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