Dusty Collins’ new number, new mask for Briggs, injury update.

Three notes from today’s morning skate:

1. Dusty Collins will wear number 14 tonight, the same number he wore the last time he donned a Reign uniform. Nobody had the number this season, so it was a good fit all around.

2. Kellen Briggs was wearing a new mask today and has another on the way.

Technically, his mask was an old one, a royal-blue-and-white design with lions that he wore last year as a member of the Dresden Eislöwen (Ice Lions). His old, plain white mask has been sent to a designer to have some color added – Reign colors, to be specific. That’s all Briggs was willing to give away about the design. “It’s a surprise,” he said.

If memory serves, Briggs would become the first goalie in the Reign’s brief history with team-specific colors on his mask.

3. Eric Doyle was back on the ice in a red (non-contact jersey). That’s a good sign of progress for the defenseman, who had a goal and two assists in four games.

Reign add another defenseman.

Lane Caffaro is the newest member of the Reign. The 26-year-old defenseman was acquired today from the Idaho Steelheads for future considerations.

Caffaro has played in 25 AHL games and 32 ECHL games in his pro career, beginning with a four-game stint in 2008-09 with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre Penguins following his four-year career at Union College (Schenectady, NY). In two games this season, he has no points and seven penalty minutes for the Steelheads.

The plan Monday was for Caffaro to drive to Ontario from Boise, then fly with the Reign to Victoria, British Columbia, for a three-game series beginning Wednesday against the Salmon Kings.

Defenseman Eric Doyle was injured and didn’t take part in practice, and Brett O’Malley was wearing the red jersey reserved for non-contact players. Defenseman Pat Bowen, acquired last week from Greenville, was healthy and set to go into the lineup but won’t be able to play in Victoria due to a passport issue.

The specific issue? He doesn’t have one.

Jordan Morrison was skating with Jeff Corey and Jon Francisco, and Pierre-Andre Bureau took Morrison’s place on the line with Shawn Collymore and Chaz Johnson. New goaltender Beau Erickson – who was available for both ends of the weekend series against the Stockton Thunder was nearly perfect in an end-of-practice shootout drill, allowing only a goal to Tim Kraus. Johnson, Chad Starling, Collymore and Matt Delahey put shots past Kellen Briggs.

Much, much more in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin, including comments from the ECHL’s Director of Officiating on Saturday’s goal that wasn’t.

Reign 5, Stockton 4, OT.

Chaz Johnson’s wrist shot past Tyson Sexsmith at 3:53 of overtime lifted the Reign to a 5-4 win before 5,769 at Stockton Arena.

Jeff Corey, Aaron Lewadniuk, Eric Doyle and Jon Francisco scored goals in regulation for the Reign (2-0-0), who got 26 saves from goaltender Martin Jones in his professional debut. Jordan Morrison and Matt Delahey each had two assists.

Stockton (0-1-1) surrendered leads of 2-0, 3-1 and 4-3 despite a 27-save effort from Sexsmith, who was playing his second game in as many nights.

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

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.

Taylor on Doyle, Lewadniuk.

Karl Taylor confirmed what the statistics of Eric Doyle and Aaron Lewadniuk suggest: The two newest members of the Reign were among the most coveted 20-year-old free agents on the market.

“They’re both young kids, both offensive talents,” the Reign coach said. “We wanted to be younger. These two, along with C.J. (Stretch) help us accomplish that. We think they’ll give us more energy, more bite and chase the carrot a bit more.”

Continue reading “Taylor on Doyle, Lewadniuk.” »

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.