In case you missed today’s notebook, including items on Karl Taylor’s semi-recent contract extension, some injury updates and some alumni updates, have a gander here.
One item that was left on the virtual cutting-room floor was about Justin Taylor …
A chance to match the Bakersfield Condors in the Western Conference standings turned into the Reign’s third straight loss Saturday.
After Bakersfield’s Vyacheslav Trukhno opened the scoring at 2:27 of the first period, Aaron Lewadniuk answered with a power-play goal – his seventh goal of the season and his fourth in six December games – 40 seconds later. Kyle Kraemer and Jordan Morrison picked up the assists.
The first period also featured three fights, starting with James McEwan and Bakersfield’s Erick Lizon dropping gloves only 19 seconds after the opening faceoff. Chaz Johnson, Justin Taylor and Michael Pelech also were hit with fighting majors before the game was over. In all, the teams combined for 90 minutes worth of penalties.
But the Reign would get no closer on the scoreboard, as they were outshot 41-23. Erik Burgdoerfer’s goal gave the Condors a 2-1 lead at 15:39 of the first period, and Stephane Goulet and Trukhno scored 18 seconds apart in the second period to provide the final score.
Kellen Briggs made 37 saves in the loss, his ECHL-leading 12th loss of the season. The Reign (8-14-0-1) could have matched the Condors in the standings with a win, but instead remained in last place in the Western Conference, four points behind the Condors (10-13-1-0).
The Reign played with only five defensemen because Jordan Hill was loaned to the American Hockey League’s Manchester Monarchs prior to the game.
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.
Jon Francisco was still awaiting the results of an MRI scan on his lower-body injury during the Reign’s morning skate Saturday, but the forward will miss at least the next three weeks regardless of the diagnosis. Francisco was placed on 21-day IR, leaving the Reign without their second-leading goal scorer until at least mid-December.
While Francisco would be eligible to return Dec. 18 against Bakersfield, he might need to take advantage of the eight-day break between that game and the Reign’s Dec. 26 meeting with Las Vegas.
Francisco joins a growing injured list that includes right wing Chaz Johnson (shoulder), forward Kyle Kraemer (knee), and defenseman Chad Starling (lower body). Needing immediate help, the Reign acquired Justin Taylor from the Idaho Steelheads for future considerations.
Taylor, 27, has spent most of his seven professional seasons in the AHL, but started this year in Idaho, playing 10 games and collecting three goals and eight points.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound center played 36 games for the Las Vegas Wranglers in 2008-09, collecting 13 goals and 30 points. Taylor is expected to fly in from Victoria, British Columbia, where the Steelheads are playing the Salmon Kings, and play in the lineup tonight. He will wear number 19.