Darcy Kuemper was victorious in his ECHL debut and Geoff Irwin’s forehand past Olivier Roy was the game-winner in the Reign’s first win of the season Saturday night.
C.J. Stretch and Steven Tarasuk also scored shootout goals for the Reign (1-1), who get a respite until traveling to Vegas next Friday. Kuemper stopped 28 of 30 shots.
Bill Bagron deposited a beautiful backhand feed from Dylan Yeo at 16:12 of the second period for the game’s first goal. Francois Brisebois got the Reign’s only power-play goal in six tries with 3.5 seconds left in the middle period. Standing in front of the crease, he took a Derek Couture pass from behind the net – then took a shot in the back after poking the puck between the pads of Olivier Roy (33 saves).
Bagron and Brisebois both have two goals on the season.
Head coach Jason Christie liked the overall effort better than Friday’s.
“They stuck their nose in there and made some good plays,” he said. “That’s a key at this level – you have to win the battles. We’re losing battles down low, and it’s a rush against. We definitely have to make sure we get better on that.”
More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin. Here are a few more observations:
The Reign announced the addition of their fourth goaltender, and their second NHL-contracted player this season, Minnesota Wild prospect Darcy Kuemper.
Kuemper, 21, led all Western Hockey League goaltenders in wins (45), goals-against average (.933), save percentage (.933), and shutouts (13) in 2010-11 with the Red Deer Rebels. His 13 shutouts tied a WHL record and Red Deer posted the league’s second-best record. In seven playoff games, Kuemper went 4-3 with a 2.83 GAA and .896 save percentage as the Rebels were bounced in the second round.
At the Canadian Hockey League Awards Banquet, Kuemper won the Goaltender of the Year Award — a recognition that spans the WHL, OHL and QMJHL.
A sixth-round draft pick by the Wild in 2009, Kuemper signed his entry-level contract in May. His pro experience consists of four games with the Wild’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Houston Aeros, in 2009-10. The Wild were affiliated with the Bakersfield Condors last season but do not have an ECHL affiliate this season. So there was likely more than one possibility as to where Kuemper would begin his first full professional season.
Kuemper is listed as 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds on ECHL.com, and 6-5, 203 on the Wild’s website. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of this tonight. Kuemper is listed as the 17th-best prospect in the Minnesota organization by hockeysfuture.com.
No corresponding roster move was announced Saturday, but Dustin Carlson was not listed on the team’s roster on ECHL.com.