Utah 7, Reign 3.

So much for that momentum from Saturday’s win at The Bank.

Both teams were playing their third game in three nights, but only one showed it, as Utah scored five power-play goals to walk away with the 7-3 win. Shawn Collymore had two goals for the Reign, C.J. Stretch had a goal and an assist, and Kellen Briggs (15 saves on 21 shots) was pulled from a start for just the second time this season.

More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin (but if you’re looking for something uplifting, better turn to the comics page).

Victoria 6, Reign 3.

The Reign seem to have left their mojo in California.

Friday’s 6-3 loss to the Victoria Salmon Kings was their second straight in the three-game series in British Columbia. The Reign (2-3-0-1) got goals from Luke Beaverson, Jordan Morrison and C.J. Stretch, but four Victoria goals in an eight-minute span of the second period put the Reign in a 5-1 hole from which they couldn’t dig out.

Goaltender Kellen Briggs started and allowed three goals on 15 shots, including the first two in the Salmon Kings’ second-period outburst. Making his Reign debut, Beau Erickson was summoned from the bench at 2:45 of the middle period, and proceeded to stop 19 of 22 shots in relief.

The Reign coudln’t convert any of their five power-play chances, and are now 1-for-12 with the man advantage in two games in Victoria. Six different players scored goals for the Salmon Kings (4-2-0) and eight different players had an assist; only former Reign defenseman P.J. Atherton had two.

Stretch, playing on a line with Morrison and Chaz Johnson, assisted on Morrison’s goal with 2:03 left in the first period. The Reign didn’t score again until Beaverson’s rocket from the point with 2:45 left in the second (Shawn Collymore and Lane Caffaro got the assists), but by then it was 5-2.

Johnson had the lone assist on Stretch’s first goal of the season, and the second of his pro career, at 1:21 of the third. Caffaro might have had the best stastical night — he finished a plus-2 on a night when only one other Reign player (defenseman Chad Starling) had above an even rating.

The two teams play again tomorrow night at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Center.

Stockton 3, Reign 1. Update.

You can’t win ’em all.

The Reign got their first loss of the season out of the way Friday, 3-1 to the Stockton Thunder at Stockton Arena. The good news? The home opener is tomorrow, and it’s the last time the Reign will face the Thunder until Jan. 21, 2011 after having played each other four times to start the season — six, if you include the preseason.

All four goals were scored on the power play. The Thunder went 3-for-8 with the man advantage and the Reign went 1-for-9. Chris D’Alvise (12:30 of the 1st period), Chris Lawrence (17:14 of the 1st) and Aaron Clarke (5:42 of the third) gave Stockton a comfortable 3-0 lead. Lawrence’s came during a 5-on-3 shift; the others came during 5-on-4 shifts.

With seven seconds left on their eighth power play of the night, the Reign finally solved Stockton netminder Tyson Sexsmith as Jon Francisco tipped a David Walker slap shot in at 12:02.

Reign goaltender Kellen Briggs (1-1) made some spectacular saves among his 29, but Sexsmith stopped 23 of the 24 shots that came his way.

Forward Pierre-Andre Bureau made his Reign (and professional) debut on a line with Francisco and Jeff Corey, and registered one shot on goal. Luke Popko and C.J. Stretch were the scratches. Newly-acquired goaltender Beau Erickson served as the backup to Briggs.

Update: Karl Taylor told the Stockton Record that the Reign’s nine penalties totaling 26 minutes were too much to overcome, including Luke Beaverson’s 10-minute misconduct, which followed a hooking call against the Reign defenseman and an unsportsmanlike conduct minor for disputing the initial call:

“You have to adjust to how the officials call a game, and they called it
tight both ways,” Taylor said. “There was a lot of
penalties we deserved, and the insurance goal turns out to be one where
we shoot our mouth off and get what we deserve. It was the right call.”

Stockton 6, Reign 2.

The Reign fell in their preseason opener Friday, 6-2 to the Stockton Thunder at Stockton Arena.

Kyle Kraemer and Eric Doyle scored goals, and Martin Jones played all 60 minutes in net, stopping 24 of 30 shots.

Kraemer’s tally evened the game at 1 in the first period with the teams skating 4-on-4; defensemen Reggie Traccitto and Chad Starling notched the assists. Doyle brought the score to 5-2 with his power-pay goal at 11:27 of the third period; fellow rookie forward C.J. Stretch got the lone assist.

Jones, a Kings prospect, was in net for all six goals in his ECHL debut. Kellen Briggs served as the backup but did not make an appearance. Who Karl Taylor plays in goal tonight will be instrumental in determining who makes the opening-day roster along with Jones. Mike Zacharias and Garrett Zemlak are also vying with Briggs for one open spot.

The two teams play again at 6 p.m. tonight at Citizens Business Bank Arena.

Five returning to Reign.

Forwards Pierre-Andre Bureau, C.J. Stretch and Kyle Kraemer, and defenseman Eric Doyle and Reggie Traccitto have been cut from the Manchester Monarchs’ training camp. All five signed with the Reign this summer and are presumably on their way (or already in) Ontario.

They will join the three goalies and 15 skaters already in the Reign’s camp to bring the total number of training campers to 23.

O’Malley joins Reign.

Checking in from vacation to report that Brett O’Malley, a 26-year-old rookie out of the University of Calgary, has signed with the Reign for next season.

The center from Settler, Alberta, had 58 goals, 104 points and 210 penalty minutes in 149 college games. Last season he posted nine goals and 14 points in 20 games for a Dinos team that went 13-12-3. O’Malley, 5-foot-11 and 168 pounds, gives the Reign another right-handed shot along with forwards Jon Francisco, Tim Kraus, Aaron Lewadniuk and C.J. Stretch, who are all under contract for next season.

Reign tap the WHL pipeline for two more.

Another pair of 20-year-old rookies from the Western Hockey League have signed with the Reign: Eric Doyle and Aaron Lewadniuk.

A 6-foot-2, 192-pound defenseman, Doyle comes to Ontario from the Portland (Ore.) Winterhawks, where he scored 21 points (three goals, 18 assists) in 35 games last season. He added a goal and eight points in 13 postseason games, second only to recent Nashville Predators draft pick Taylor Aronson among Portland defensemen (and more than former first-round NHL draft pick Luca Sbisa). In 2008-09, Doyle set career highs with 12 goals and 55 points in 71 games for the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos, both team highs among defensemen.

Lewadniuk was a teammate of former Kings draft pick Brayden Schenn with the Brandon Wheat Kings. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound center actually scored more goals than Schenn last season – 37 to 34 – albeit in six more games. Lewadniuk also totaled 49 assists, a total of 86 points in 65 games. Only three Wheat Kings had more points than Lewadniuk last season, and all (Schenn, Matt Calvert and Scott Glennie) have been drafted by NHL teams.

Although there are more contracts to be announced, it’s clear from his early signings that head coach Karl Taylor is intent on turning around an offense that has ranked last in the ECHL in goals scored each of its first two seasons. Four of them (Doyle, Lewadniuk, C.J. Stretch and Jon Francisco) are capable scorers while the fifth, stay-at-home defenseman Chad Starling, may be better than all of them in the shootout.

Notes on Francisco, Stretch, G.Walker.

Nothing new under the hot, hot sun by Citizens Business Bank Arena, but there’s some good reading material on Jon Francisco and C.J. Stretch elsewhere on the Web.

Also, contrary to a Facebook rumor, Geoff Walker isn’t going to Russia next season. “Some of the boys were playing a Facebook prank on me,” he said. “It was one big joke that snowballed.”

Walker hasn’t finalized his plans for next season yet. The 22-year-old winger said is working out the details on a contract that will keep him in North America, though he wouldn’t say where. “I’m pretty excited about it,” he said.

Walker was one of eight players tendered a qualifying offer by the Reign.

Checking in with C.J. Stretch.

C.J. Stretch won’t soon forget his first day at Citizens Business Bank Arena.

“I went to the fan appreciation thing,” he said of a meet-and-greet with coaches and players in March. “I hadn’t played a game yet, and (the fans) were all so excited I was coming there. It was a pretty good transition.”

Continue reading “Checking in with C.J. Stretch.” »