Reign 5, Elmira 4, SO.

Can the Jackals visit the Inland Empire more than one weekend a year?

The first-ever interconference game at CBBA, a true contrast in coaching philosophies and playing styles, needed the shootout to determine a winner. It resulted in a badly needed two points for the Reign, who kept pace with the victorious Victoria Salmon Kings (2-0 over Las Vegas) to remain nine points out of seventh place.

After Andrew Sweetland’s forehand wrister beat Beau Erickson in the second round, Jordan Morrison answered on the next shot by waiting out Garrett Zemlak with a high forehand wrister. In the fifth and final round, Justin Taylor reached around Zemlak’s back leg to put the Reign ahead for good. Erickson denied A.J. Perry on the other end to seal the win – the Reign’s second in the shootout this season.

Chaz Johnson scored two goals against the team he played for from 2007-10, Shawn Collymore scored a pair of goals, and Morrison added three assists.

It was a gutsy performance from Taylor, who didn’t play the entire second period after being leveled to the ice on a clean shoulder-to-shoulder check into the boards late in the first. He looked especially slow on his skates in the third period compared to a fast, fast Elmira team, but speed was not needed in the shootout. Just the long reach.

More game details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Bulletin. A few more notes:
Continue reading “Reign 5, Elmira 4, SO.” »

Petizian switches hallways, and what it’s like on the other side.

It’s been more than a month since Alex Petizian played his only game in a Reign uniform, and came up on the short end of a 5-1 loss to the Utah Grizzlies at Citizens Business Bank Arena on Jan. 8.

The goaltender will play his next game at CBBA tonight as a member of the Elmira Jackals.

The Reign traded Petizian to the visiting team this morning, something that Karl Taylor said he’d never done in five and a half seasons coaching in the ECHL.

“It’s a chance for Alex to play,” Taylor said. “We felt our other two guys (Beau Erickson and Mike Zacharias) are better for us right now.”

Petizian isn’t complaining. The rookie out of St. Lawrence University got dressed in the Reign’s locker room, was called into Taylor’s office, then was informed of the trade and walked down the hallway to the visitor’s locker room to join his new team.

Considering his only experience this season consists of parts three games in five months, Petizian welcomed the opportunity.

“It’s good news,” he said. “It’s definitely been tough. Practicing isn’t like being in games consistently. It’s been hard getting into a groove this year.”

Continue reading “Petizian switches hallways, and what it’s like on the other side.” »

Getting ahead of ourselves.

When the Reign host the Stockton Thunder tomorrow, expect to see more changes on the visitor’s bench than the home bench.

Stockton last visited CBBA on Jan. 23, a game that saw former Reign goalie Garrett Zemlak stop 26 of 28 shots in a 4-2 Thunder win. Zemlak has since been traded to the Elmira Jackals — who play the Reign in three straight games beginning Friday — for forward Tyler Donati, who led the ECHL in scoring last season.

One problem: Donati couldn’t pass his physical, which revealed a shoulder injury that required surgery. So that trade was nullified, Zemlak stayed in Elmira, and the Thunder received defenseman Jody Pederson instead. Pederson had a goal and an assist in the Thunder’s last game, a 3-2 win Saturday against the Utah Grizzlies.

Expect Oilers prospect Bryan Pitton to start in goal; Sharks prospect Tyson Sexsmith was recalled to the AHL on Monday and the Thunder signed Matt Pamidi as their emergency backup today.

As expected, the Reign didn’t sneak in any foreign players ahead of yesterday’s deadline, and have stayed off the transactions wire since beating Bakersfield 4-3 on Saturday. Shawn Germain (hand) practiced with the team Tuesday and is day-to-day. He can come off 3-day IR and play tomorrow if he’s healthy. Expect an update after the morning skate.

Stockton 4, Reign 2.

The third period wasn’t the problem. The penalty-kill was.

Stockton scored on its first three power plays en route to a 4-2 win to cap a three-game weekend sweep of the Reign at CBBA.

Shawn Collymore scored both Reign goals, both on the power
play, both the result of persistence with pucks in the crease against
Garrett Zemlak. Zemlak, who started the season with the Reign, stopped
26 shots and even got into a fight late in the second period.

Mike Zacharias stopped 27 of 30 for the Reign. He was great at times, but let in a soft goal by Ryan Constant in the second period that proved to be the game-winner.

Another player who started the season in Ontario, Pierre-Andre Bureau, had an empty-net goal and two assists for the Thunder.

Shawn Germain missed the game to attend a firefighting class in Canada. Doug Krantz filled in on the blue line (and played fairly well). James McEwan also got back into the lineup and engaged in two highly entertaining fights.

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

The skinny on Alex Petizian.

Alex Petizian’s story is not unusual for a rookie minor-league goalie, except that he’s had to wait an unusually long time to start his pro career on solid footing.

Recall that the Reign signed goalies Mike Zacharias and Garrett Zemlak in the preseason; both wound up being traded to clear room for Martin Jones (who was on an NHL contract) and Kellen Briggs (previously an established starter in the league). All of this transpired before the regular season began, and Zacharias and Zemlak are seeing a lot of playing time for Idaho and Stockton, respectively.

Similarly, Petizian signed with the Alaska Aces over the summer but still hasn’t appeared in an ECHL game this season. Veteran Gerald Coleman was assigned to the Aces late in the preseason by the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen; Adam Courchaine was later assigned to Alaska by the NHL’s Boston Bruins. Petizian had been buried on the depth chart ever since.
Continue reading “The skinny on Alex Petizian.” »

Special goalie duel in Stockton.

Here’s the link to today’s story about Reign defenseman Eric Doyle (and his mighty moustache):

Here’s another link to check out:

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.

Zemlak traded to Kalamazoo, Lombardi cut.

The Reign’s roster is set, and Kellen Briggs and Martin Jones are the goalies.

Goaltender Garrett Zemlak and forward Daniel Lombardi were not on the Reign’s opening-day roster submitted to the ECHL today, giving the Reign 20 players in advance of Friday’s regular-season opener in Stockton. Zemlak was traded to the Kalamazoo Wings for future considerations, and Lombardi was released from his pro tryout.

Here’s what Karl Taylor had to say about the goalie scenario:
Continue reading “Zemlak traded to Kalamazoo, Lombardi cut.” »

And then there were three.

The Reign traded goalie Mike Zacharias to the Idaho Steelheads for future considerations Tuesday, leaving only Kellen Briggs and Garrett Zemlak to compete for the vacant goalie spot alongside Kings prospect Martin Jones.

The 25-year-old Zacharias spent his first professional
season with the Reign last year, appearing in 24 games and finishing
the season 10-6-3 with an .894 save percentage and a goals-against
average of 3.28. Zacharias lost the No. 1 mantle to Curtis Darling early
in the season, saw more ice time late in the season and was
instrumental in the Reign’s late playoff push, but was on the bench
again to start the season-ending series in Las Vegas.

In Idaho, Zacharias figures to split time with Dallas Stars prospect Tyler Beskorowany. The Steelheads, a Stars affiliate, released a pair of goalies on Tuesday, Tim Haun and Michael-Lee Teslak. Their online training camp roster also included goalies Billy Blase and Doug Melvin as of Tuesday afternoon.

Monday’s practice notes; updating the roster picture.

The Reign had a full complement of 23 bodies in practice Monday, a group that figures to get smaller soon.

Coach Karl Taylor said he must submit his roster to the ECHL by noon Wednesday, but “usually we try to do it on Tuesday, just to get everything in order.”
Continue reading “Monday’s practice notes; updating the roster picture.” »