The Kelly Cup Finals matchup was determined last night when the Kalamazoo Wings eliminated the Wheeling Nailers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Kalamazoo will play the Alaska Aces, the top-seeded champions of the Western Conference, beginning Saturday in Anchorage.
Only one former Reign is on the roster of either team, Wings defenseman Jon Landry. Landry appeared in 18 games for the Reign in the 2009-10 season before being traded to Kalamazoo, where he’s been ever since. He has six points (goal, five assists) in 10 playoff games so far.
No former Reign will appear in the following video, although if you make it to the end you might recognize Justin Pogge, who was the opposing goalie for the Reign’s first two games of the 2009-10 season. It’s from the ESPN series E:60. If you like hockey and happy endings, you won’t regret the 10-minute investment:
Mike Zacharias made the most of his second start in as many nights, and the Reign beat the conference-leading Steelheads for the fourth straight time.
Michael Pelech and Geoff Walker scored the goals, Zacharias made 25 saves, and the Reign withstood a midgame uniform change – more details in tomorrow’s editions – to pull out the win.
The National Conference standings still look crazy, but contain some good news for the Reign (29-27-3-6, 67 points). They’re out of last place thanks to Stockton’s 4-3 win in Utah, through the Grizzlies (66 points) are still breathing down their necks. The Reign have one game in hand on Las Vegas (69) and can tie the Wranglers and Stockton (69) with a win over the Steelheads tomorrow.
Alaska beat Las Vegas 3-2 to move into a tie with Victoria for third place in the conference (70 points).
Jon Rheault collected an assist on Pelech’s goal to extend his point streak to four games. He has seven goals and 15 points in nine games since returning from the American Hockey League.
In tomorrow’s notebook you’ll find a breakdown of the team’s franchise-record, six-game losing streak. New forward acquisition Sal Peralta has arrived in town and I expect to be able to catch up with him tomorrow after practice.
In the meantime, to tide you over, here are some notes that didn’t make the notebook …
The Reign have found a trade partner for Jon Landry, acquiring forward Sal Peralta from the Kalamazoo Wings on Saturday for the disgruntled defenseman.
Peralta, 26, played against Karl Taylor’s University of Waterloo squad in 2004-05 as a freshman at the University of Western Ontario, where he played from 2004-09. The 6-2, 200-pound forward was the Mustangs’ leading scorer three out of his five years in college.
Peralta has split his first professional season between the IHL’s Quad City Mallards, and the expansion Wings, where he had four goals and 15 points in 19 games. Peralta was held scoreless in two games with Quad City.
He was in the Bakersfield Condors’ camp to begin the season but was squeezed out by the needs of the NHL-affiliate Ducks, who are without an AHL partner this season. Here’s the report in the Bakersfield Californian at the time of Peralta’s release:
The Condors released forward Sal Peralta Friday morning to open a roster spot for Dan Sexton. Sexton arrived in Bakersfield on Thursday evening and was officially assigned to the team by the Ducks on Friday. Sexton, who led Bowling Green in goals and points as a sophomore last season will make his pro debut tonight.
“Sal is a top two line type of player,” Condors coach Marty Raymond said, noting all of those roles were filled. “Circumstances are what they are.”
Four players assigned by the Ducks are on the top two lines.
Reign defenseman Jon Landry has been suspended by the team.
Acquired Nov. 4 from the Cincinnati Cyclones in exchange for winger Adam Henrich, Landry had three goals and six points in 18 games with the Reign — including one in his first game in a Reign uniform on Nov. 6. He did not play in Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Las Vegas Wranglers.
Possessing a hard shot and good puck skills, Landry had alternated in at forward recently while the Reign were depleted by injuries and AHL recalls. However, Landry had just one goal and no assists in his last 10 games.
Update, 9:36 p.m.: Here’s what Karl Taylor had to say after tonight’s game: “He (Landry) wasn’t happy with how things were going and neither were we. I didn’t think he played — he decided he wasn’t going to play the way I wanted him to consistently, so we cut back his ice and he’s requested a trade. We’re doing the best we can to accommodate him but hopefully also help our team, too.”
Three defensemen — Shawn Germain, Chad Starling and Jon Landry — scored in the shootout, with Germain scoring on the first shootout attempt of his career. Jon Francisco and Greg Hogeboom scored in regulation, the latter coming with 3:14 left in the third period to send the game to overtime tied at 2.
Curtis Darling made 26 saves, and stopped Las Vegas’ Jason Krischuk immediately following Germain’s goal to seal the victory after six shootout rounds.
There were more fighting majors than goals, with Mike Egener’s quick, one-sided bout with Vegas’ John Schwarz the highlight for the Reign. Earlier Reign captain Jon Francisco got into a rare fight of his own, which resulted in six stitches to close a wound on his upper lip. But the fight served a greater purpose, sparking yet another Reign comeback, this one from a 2-0 deficit.
The Reign went 0 for 7 on the power play and were unable to take advantage of a two-man advantage early in the third period, losing 2-1 in Boise.
His team trailing 2-0 at 4:03 of the third period, defenseman Jon Landry scored for the Reign. The Reign (10-12-2-1) looked poised to tie the score two minutes later after three Idaho players were sent to the penalty box in a span of 61 seconds, but could not convert.
Idaho (19-4-0-2), the top team in the ECHL’s West Division, got goals by Marty Flichel in the first period and John Swanson in the second. Curtis Darling stopped 22 of 24 shots, and Idaho’s Rejean Beauchemin had 21 saves.
The Reign have traded forward Adam Henrich to the Cincinnati Cyclones for defenseman Jon Landry.
Landry, 25, began the season with the American Hockey League’s Rochester Americans, but appeared in just one game before he was released. In six games for Cincinnati, Landry collected one assist and 13 penalty minutes. Continue reading “Henrich traded to Cincinnati.” »