Bakersfield 4, Reign 1.

The line of ex-NHLer Kyle Calder, and ex-AHLers Bobby Robins and Joel Broda, combined for two goals and five assists on a night that saw the start time pushed back nearly half an hour because the Condors’ team bus was late to The Bank.

Kyle Kraemer scored the Reign’s only goal at 5:14 of the second period.

Newcomer Alan Dorich saw regular ice time early on a pairing with Luke Beaverson and shot a puck off the end boards that led directly to Kraemer’s goal. Not a bad debut.

But the Reign as a team didn’t get shots to the net with consistency until the third period, when they outshot the Condors 13-10. Prior to that they had only eight shots on net – including two in the second period – to Bakersfield’s 17.

Kellen Briggs stopped 23 shots but let in a pair of uncharacteristically easy goals, while former NHL goalie Josh Tordjman stopped 20 on the other end for Bakersfield.

The eight-place Reign fell six points behind the seventh-place Condors in the Western Conference standings. Bakersfield has handed the Reign two straight losses by the same score; the teams play again tomorrow night at 7 p.m.

The Reign went 0-for-5 on the power play, including 0-for-3 in the third period, to extend their stretch of futility with the man advantage to 2-for-40 in their last seven games.

“We’re working hard, we just have to get the puck in the net,” Kraemer said. “I’m confident, and so are the guys in the locker room, that we can get out of this funk.”

More from Kraemer and coach Karl Taylor in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

Bakersfield 4, Reign 1.

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 gamesĀ - 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.

Utah 1, Reign 0, plus a bunch of notes that didn’t make the paper.

One fan suggested that he would wear a bag over his head to the next home game – an understandable choice after the Reign’s 10th loss in 11 games at The Bank.

In reality, Friday’s loss wasn’t particularly difficult to watch; the Reign just had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. No lines looked the same as they did in Wednesday’s 7-3 thrashing at the hands of the Las Vegas Wranglers. Some actually displayed tangible chemistry, namely that of Aaron Lewadniuk, Shawn Collymore and Chaz Johnson. Jeff Corey, Justin Taylor and Kyle Kraemer – playing his first game since Oct. 27 – had their moments, too.

The only moment that mattered came at 12:37 of the second period, when Simon Ferguson’s second-chance whack at the net past Beau Erickson crossed the line for the game’s only goal.

Erickson showed no rust in his first 60-minute game since September. Kellen Briggs’ streak of consecutive starts ended at 18.

The Reign drew three power plays in a six-minute span late in the third period, and skated 6-on-5 for the final minute, but couldn’t bury the equalizer.

James McEwan re-entered the lineup and played sparingly, but he did fight with the much larger Nick Tuzzolino (6-5, 225 to 6-0, 191) in the third period. He landed one clean punch to the face with his left hand – the same hand that was surgically repaired in the off-season – so McEwan passed his first major test in his first game back.

The Reign travel to play the Bakersfield Condors at 7 p.m. tonight at Rabobank Arena.

Here are a few notes that won’t make tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin:
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Reign 3, Utah 2, OT.

It’s beginning to sound like a melodic broken record, but the Reign pulled out a close win on the road Saturday night.

Jeff Corey’s goal at 1:34 of overtime lifted the Reign to victory in a physically charged game in Utah. Back-to-back wins over the Grizzlies have given the Reign an 8-11-0-1 record, matching Bakersfield in the Pacific Division standings with 17 points. Because the Condors have a game in hand, the Reign can technically say they’re out of last place for the first time since Nov. 13.

Corey’s goal was his team-leading eighth of the season. He took a long pass from David Walker and fired it past Andrew Engelage for his second game-winning goal of the season. Walker’s assist was his second of the game and his team-leading 11th on the year.

Aaron Lewadniuk’s sixth goal of the season, during a first-period power play, opened the scoring midway through the first period. Dusty Collins made it 2-0 in the middle period with his second goal this season.

Utah answered with goals from Matt Clarke and Nick Tuzzolino, the latter coming with 5:00 left in the third period.

Starting his 18th consecutive game, Kellen Briggs made 37 saves on a night that saw Utah outshoot the Reign 39-24. The teams combined for nearly as many penalty minutes (60) as shots (63), including a second-period fight between Michael Pelech and Utah’s Marcus Carroll. Ten of the game’s 24 penalties were for roughing, including a pair that were charged to former Reign defenseman Brian Kilburg.

The Reign are unbeaten in five road games in November and December, and all five wins have been by a single goal. Their home record during that span is 1-7, with only a shootout win against the Las Vegas Wranglers in the win column.

The lineup looked the same for the third straight night but that could change against the Wranglers on Wednesday, especially if James McEwan (among others) is cleared to play and gets the nod to make his season debut from coach Karl Taylor.

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.

Utah 7, Reign 3.

So much for that momentum from Saturday’s win at The Bank.

Both teams were playing their third game in three nights, but only one showed it, as Utah scored five power-play goals to walk away with the 7-3 win. Shawn Collymore had two goals for the Reign, C.J. Stretch had a goal and an assist, and Kellen Briggs (15 saves on 21 shots) was pulled from a start for just the second time this season.

More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin (but if you’re looking for something uplifting, better turn to the comics page).

A trade, a win, and a couple notes that won’t make tomorrow’s paper.

The Reign gutted out a 2-1 shootout win against Las Vegas that ended their losing streak at three, and ended their season-long home losing streak at 6. For those of you who attended the game and have never seen a Reign home victory before, that thing where the players gather around The Dragon at center ice and raise their sticks to the crowd? It’s been standard post-victory protocol for three years now.

Dusty Collins and Shawn Collymore scored goals in the shootout, Kellen Briggs made a total of 40 saves – including one on a last-second breakaway – and the Reign were a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill, including a pair of 5-on-3s.

They did all this despite the absence of Jon Francisco, Chad Starling, Chaz Johnson and Pierre-Andre Bureau – who was traded to the Stockton Thunder for future considerations prior to the game.

Here are a few notes that won’t appear in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin:

Continue reading

Las Vegas 1, Reign 0.

Make it six.

Six weeks into the regular season, six home games at Citizens Business
Bank Arena, zero wins for the Reign in front of their home crowd. That
was the consequence of Friday’s 1-0 loss to the Las Vegas Wranglers –
that, and an injury that knocked Jon Francisco out of the game in the
third period.

The Reign failed to capitalize on five power plays, and allowed a Ryan
Huddy goal during a 5-on-4 power play in the first period that proved to
be the game-winner.

Kellen Briggs stopped 24 of 25 shots in the loss. Defenseman Chad
Starling and right wing Chaz Johnson both missed their first game of the
season. Irvine native C.J. Stretch re-entered the lineup.

We’ll try to get updated information in this space, including Francisco’s status for Saturday night’s rematch against the Wranglers, in the morning.

News and notes from practice.

The Reign had a light practice today, an hour-long, 3-on-3 scrimmage that Karl Taylor hoped would “allow the guys to have some fun and enjoy what they’re doing.” Starting the season 0-4-1 at home sort of creates that need.

Jon Francisco was back on the ice after his bout with the flu. Chaz Johnson (shoulder) and Kyle Kraemer (knee) were not.

Here are few notes that won’t make tomorrow’s notebook:

Continue reading

Las Vegas 4, Reign 1.

The Reign are still winless at home.

Shawn Collymore’s putback at 11:24 of the third period was the extent of the scoring for the Reign, who struck out on the power play (0-for-4) and lost Chaz Johnson to a shoulder injury on a late second-period fight.

Johnson said after the game he heard a crack in the shoulder pulling down the jersey of his opponent Dan Bertram, who suffered a bloodied nose, but didn’t separate it and only stayed out as a precaution.

Kellen Briggs stopped 19 of 22 in the loss. More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.