Reign lose 6-3, plus more on Johnson, McEwan and Alex Morton.

The Reign lost in almost typical fashion. Take away the final three minutes of the first period, and they played one of their better games in recent memory – getting more scoring chances, more shots on goal, and more time in the offensive zone than Idaho. That doesn’t happen often.

Of course, you can’t take away those inexplicable three minutes of hockey in which Idaho scored three goals – twice on the power play and again at even strength.

“That’s kind of been the problem we’ve had all year, putting a 60-minute game together,” David Walker said. “Yeah, it’s one of our better games. We got blocked shots, put a lot of shots on net, did a lot of things we wanted to do at the start of the game. But when a team has a power play that good, you can’t give them opportunity after opportunity to do it.”

Walker went on to point out that playing well means little. Alaska is on its way to beating Victoria (the game is currently in the third period). Assuming the 4-2 score holds, the Reign would be left with 11 games in which to make up nine points on the seventh-place Salmon Kings to make the playoffs. So long as the Reign have at least five games to play, and Victoria keeps losing – a loss tonight would be its fourth straight – there’s a chance.

The Reign played without Chaz Johnson and James McEwan; tomorrow’s editions
of the Sun and Daily Bulletin will have plenty on the Reign’s reaction
to the ECHL suspensions. I didn’t have room for many details on the game, so here are a few:
Continue reading “Reign lose 6-3, plus more on Johnson, McEwan and Alex Morton.” »

Idaho 7, Reign 2.

Here are the season totals for Aki Seitsonen, Geoff Irwin and Bear Trapp before Friday:

Seistonen: 8 goals, 11 assists, minus-10
Irwin: 9 goals, 5 assists, minus-3
Trapp: 0 goals, 1 assist, minus-1, 1 sweet name.

Not exactly eye-popping statistics. But put together, the trio were the primary beneficiaries of a lackadaisical effort by the Reign. Their totals Friday:

Seitsonen: 2 goals, 3 assists, plus-4
Irwin: 1 goal, 3 assists, plus-4
Trapp: 1 goal, 1 assist, plus-4, 1 fight.

The net result of their efforts was the Reign’s most lopsided loss since Jan. 21. Just when you thought they were turning a corner …

Here’s how Karl Taylor broke it down: “I thought we had a good first period. They got the late goal on a mental letdown there. We shouldn’t have given up that opportunity. It was 4-2 going into the third, we weren’t playing the way we needed to. They played better, but off the rush we gave them too many odd-man looks. In the third period it got away from us obviously.”

The Reign fell to eight points behind Victoria in the Western Conference standings with 16 games to go. Grabbing a playoff spot still isn’t impossible, but with any more games like Friday’s, they won’t deserve it.

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

A couple notes that didn’t make the paper:
Continue reading “Idaho 7, Reign 2.” »

Las Vegas 4, Reign 2.

Surprise starter Mike Zacharias gave up goals on the first two shots he faced, and the Reign never caught up to Las Vegas in their first game in a week.

Neither team had played since they squared off against each other seven days earlier at Orleans Arena, but Zacharias was the rustiest man on the ice. He had not played since posting the win Dec. 6 against Victoria, a span of 20 days, and allowed goals to Kyle Hagel and Francis Lemieux in a span of 3:58 to start the game.

The Reign settled down considerably after that, and finished with a 34-23 advantage in shots on goal. Jon Francisco scored his fifth goal of the season, the Reign’s lone power-play goal in seven chances, at 4:45 of the second period to make it 2-1.

Mick Lawrence answered at 7:14, sending a blistering slapshot in the slot past Zacharias to push the lead back to 3-1. But the Reign took a 3-2 deficit into the third period after Francisco fed Robert Pearce for a breakaway goal at 8:53. 

Lemieux, playing his first season in the ECHL after four years spent in the AHL, got his second goal of the game with 2:29 left in the third. Zacharias was pulled for the extra attacker late, but had to go back in when Pearce crashed into Las Vegas goalie Michael Ouzas (32 saves) with 50 seconds left.

Goaltender Curtis Darling wasn’t on the bench tonight; Dennis Cook served as the emergency backup. We’ll see what the situation looks like tomorrow when the Reign host the Bakersfield Condors at 5 p.m. at The Bank.