Doyle is cut, and more notes from the morning skate.

Eric Doyle’s long-awaited reward for being activated from injured reserve was hardly a reward at all. The defenseman was released by the Reign, a disappointing conclusion to what had been a promising start to his tenure in Ontario.

“I feel awful for the kid,” Reign coach Karl Taylor said. “Good kid. Tough circumstance, but it’s just something we have to do.”

The 21-year-old defenseman had a goal and six points in 12 games to start his rookie year. Four of his five assists came on the power play, a role that hasn’t been easy for the Reign to fill since Doyle originally was diagnosed with a lower-body injury on Nov. 28.

“He hasn’t skated for seven weeks, or six weeks, so we released him from
his contract. We need to get bodies in here now, with our situation in
the standings. We don’t have time to mess around. We need to win now.

“He’s all healed and cleared, and now getting him back in shape and all those things – we need to get someone in here sooner.”

A few more notes from the morning skate:
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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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No Dylan Hunter, and other notes.

Reign coach Karl Taylor said through a team spokesperson that Monday’s ECHL transactions report erroneously showed the Reign signing a defenseman named Dylan Hunter. A forward by the same name, the son of former NHL player Dale Hunter, is under contract to the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones. Hockeydb.com has no record of any defensemen named Dylan Hunter, so we’re guessing the ECHL goofed.

Also Monday, left wing James McEwan was placed on 3-day injured reserve while center C.J. Stretch was transferred to 7-day injured reserve and defenseman Eric Doyle (upper-body) was transferred to 21-day injured reserve.

No word yet as to whether defenseman Doug Krantz will be joining the team in Victoria, where the Reign will play Tim Kraus and the Victoria Salmon Kings in back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday.

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

Reign add defenseman Dorich.

Alan Dorich became the third defenseman acquired at midseason by the Reign on Thursday.

The rookie comes to Ontario from the Gwinnett Gladiators – likely in exchange for “future considerations,” though that’s not confirmed – and the Reign will become his fourth ECHL team in a season that is barely two months old.

The 24-year-old has already played two games for the Wheeling Nailers, three for the Kalamazoo Wings and one for the Gladiators, collecting one assist in Wheeling along the way. The Reign will be his fifth team overall this season; Dorich was cut in training camp by the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves.

Dorich had no goals, 17 assists and 200 penalty minutes from 2006-10 at Northern Michigan University, suggesting he is a defense-minded blueliner. Prior to college, Dorich played three seasons for the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers, where he was teammates with current Kings Davis Drewiske and Trevor Lewis, and New York Islanders forward Kyle Okposo. The Buccaneers won the Clark Cup in 2006.

No word yet on when Dorich will arrive, or if he will be able to play tomorrow against the Bakersfield Condors. Eric Doyle (upper body) is on injured reserve and didn’t take part in practice. Neither did defenseman Chad Starling (lower body), who worked out off the ice and is eligible to be activated off IR tomorrow. Reign coach Karl Taylor said Starling is questionable.

Before acquiring Dorich, Taylor said he would be comfortable playing with five defenseman if needed, which was the case in Saturday’s 4-1 loss in Bakersfield.

“We played a pretty good game Saturday,” Taylor said. “Obviously we lost and we’re disappointed with the result. We’ve got to climb out of our hole. We played a real competitive game. We had four or five fights in the game. We stood up for ourselves, we had some good chances.

“That’s been the focus this week. We’ve done a lot of power-play work, a lot of scoring drills. We need to create more offense and score more. That’s what we’re trying to fix. We feel if we score more, we can probably win four or five more games than we have.”

Injury updates, and more (!) from practice.

The Reign became four teams of four in practice Monday. Their goal: Scoring goals.

“Our whole goal today was to have a whole scoring practice,” coach Karl Taylor said. “Obviously we’ve struggled with that. That was our focus today. We were out there for an hour and 45 minutes, it was based on scoring and having some competition within it.

“We can’t complain about our defensive play, although at times it’s gotten lax and there are things we need to improve. We have to score more. That’s our number one issue. We have to try to get guys attentive to details and creating more chances.”

As they have each of the last two ECHL seasons, the Reign rank last in the league in goals per game.

Right wing Chaz Johnson, who left midway through Saturday’s game in Bakersfield, was back on the ice after suffering a recurrence of the same shoulder injury that cost him three games in November. He said he expects to play Friday.

Chad Starling (lower body) is hopeful he can come back this weekend too, but he hasn’t been cleared to practice yet. The veteran defenseman, who is eligible to come off 21-day IR on Friday, worked out off the ice.

David Walker also missed practice, taking a “maintenance day” often given to veteran players. Also off the ice were forward Jon Francisco and defenseman Eric Doyle, both of whom remain on IR.

As for the competition, the “black team” of Kyle Kraemer, Lane Caffaro, Dusty Collins and Shawn Collymore were the big winners.

McEwan won’t debut tonight.

James McEwan won’t make his debut tonight for the Reign. McEwan went from the non-roster “previous injury status” to 3-day injured reserve.

Adding him gives the Reign 24 players counting IR and the active roster, which sounds like a lot, but Karl Taylor said “we’re a little bit crowded, we’re not overly crowded,” and right now there’s room for everyone on the payroll and in the team apartments.

Kyle Kraemer (knee), Eric Doyle (upper-body), Chad Starling (lower-body) and Jon Francisco (lower-body) all remain on IR. Doyle, who was transferred from 3-day to 7-day IR, said he isn’t sure if his current upper-body injury is related to the last one. Starling was transferred from 7-day to 21-day IR and can be activated a week from Friday.

The Reign host the Las Vegas Wranglers at 7 p.m. at The Bank.

Reign 4, Utah 3.

There’s no place like home, but there’s been no place better for the Reign than the road.

A 4-3 win over the Utah Grizzlies on Friday at the E-Center was the Reign’s fourth straight win away from The Bank. Goals by Aaron Lewadniuk, Chaz Johnson, Michael Pelech (short-handed) and Lane Caffaro ended the Reign’s losing skid at 2, and toppled the best team in the Western Conference.

The Reign played with the same lineup as they did in Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to the Bakersfield Condors. Defenseman Pat Bowen played his second straight game in favor of Eric Doyle and Matt Delahey; Chad Starling (lower-body injury) is still on IR. Forwards Kyle Kraemer (knee) and Jon Francisco (lower-body) remained out, and center Tim Kraus was scratched again.

Kellen Briggs made his 17th straight start and stopped 31 of 34.

Pelech also had an assist, as did Luke Beaverson, Brett O’Malley and Jordan Hill.

The two teams meet again at 6 p.m. tonight. More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

Bakersfield 5, Reign 4.

Jeff Corey, Brett O’Malley, Justin Taylor and Aaron Lewadniuk scored goals – the Reign’s biggest offensive outburst in seven games – but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Reign’s second straight loss, their fifth setback in their last six.

As was the case in a 7-3 loss to the Utah Grizzlies on Sunday, the bigger problems were in the Reign’s own end. All of the Condors’ goals came from close range, including the game-winner by Erick Lizon on a second-chance effort with 7:44 to play in the third. Kellen Briggs made 21 saves, stopping every shot that came at him from a distance and a few that didn’t.

Chaz Johnson returned to the lineup for the Reign and was held scoreless skating on a line with O’Malley and Michael Pelech. Pat Bowen made his first appearance in a Reign uniform, subbing in for Eric Doyle on defense. Center Tim Kraus was also a healthy scratch.

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

Special goalie duel in Stockton.

Here’s the link to today’s story about Reign defenseman Eric Doyle (and his mighty moustache): http://www.sbsun.com/sports/ci_16654606.

Here’s another link to check out: http://echl.com/stats/official-game-report.php?game_id=8124.

You ought to recognize the two goalies who sent a 2-2 game between the Stockton Thunder and Idaho Steelheads into a shootout – both Garrett Zemlak (Stockton) and Mike Zacharias (Idaho) began training camp with the Reign. It’s a testament to their talent, and the fluctuating nature of an ECHL roster, that both were starting for opposing Western Conference teams tonight.

If there were a bigger surprise, it’s that Zacharias didn’t win. The Reign’s shootout hero last season allowed two Stockton goals, while Zemlak allowed only one goal to win the skills competition in his first game with the Thunder.

Stockton has gone on an 8-0-3 run since opening night – when the Reign beat them in their own building – to grab a share of the best record in the league.

Injury updates.

Good news for the Reign blue line came today, when Eric Doyle was cleared for full contact. The rookie had a goal, three points, and a plus-2 rating in four games before suffering a lower-body injury. The Reign went 2-1-1 with Doyle in the lineup and 0-6-0 without him.

The recovery process hasn’t been as fast for forward James McEwan, who still hasn’t received medical clearance to rejoin the lineup. The enforcer, who expected to return in late October following off-season wrist surgery, still hasn’t joined the team.

In case you missed today’s notebook, including items on new captain David Walker, the team’s seven-game losing streak, Kellen Briggs’ workload, and an alumni update, read it right here.