Season ends in Manchester.

The Manchester Monarchs, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Kings and Reign, saw their season end Saturday in an overtime heartbreaker.

Ryan Potulny wristed a shot past a screened Jeff Zatkoff at 3:07 of overtime, giving the Binghamton Senators the 6-5 win in Game 7 of the first-round playoff series. Manchester came back from deficits of 3-0 and 4-1, and took a brief 5-4 lead on a goal by Dwight King at 10:19 of the third period.

But Binghamton’s Erik Condra scored with 1:45 left in the third period to tie the game at 5. Potulny’s overtime goal was his fifth point of the game, including four assists.

Zatkoff relieved Martin Jones after Condra’s first goal of the game, 56 seconds into the second period. Jordan Hill had an assist and finished plus-1 — much better statistically than center Brayden Schenn, The Hockey News‘ No. 1 overall prospect, who was held scoreless and finished minus-5 matched against the line of Potulny, Colin Greening and Ryan Keller (two goals).

King and Bud Holloway both finished with a goal and an assist. Jordan Nolan also had an assist. Jones stopped 13 of 16 shots, while Zatkoff stopped 20 of 23.

It was the first Game 7 played at home in the franchise’s 10-year history.

Johnson released by Manchester.

An update from the AHL, where the number of Reign players on playoff rosters dropped by one Tuesday.

The Manchester Monarchs released Chaz Johnson just two days before their first-round series with the Binghamton Senators — Johnson’s last AHL employer — was scheduled to begin. Johnson appeared in four games with the Monarchs, skating as a bottom-six right wing, collecting two penalty minutes and no points in four games.

Still dotting AHL rosters are Dwight King, Bud Holloway, Jordan Nolan, Patrick Mullen, Jordan Hill, Martin Jones and Jeff Zatkoff (Manchester); Beau Erickson (Peoria); Geoff Walker (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton); Andrew Martens (Lake Erie) and Colten Teubert (Oklahoma City).

Including Jon Rheault, who ended the season with the Abbotsford Heat (who didn’t make the Calder Cup playoffs), that’s 12 former Reign players who ended the regular season at the next level.

Some brief goalie notes. Update.

It’s two and a half hours before game time in Stockton, and the Reign still have three goalies. To my knowledge.

We will probably learn the fate of Alex Petizian within the next 24 hours. Mike Zacharias and Beau Erickson would seem to be the chosen tandem, and Petizian could either wind up on IR or the waiver wire come Saturday.

In the meantime, the Martin Jones bandwagon certainly seems to be gaining followers. Check out this piece on Jones, who began the season with the Reign and won his first professional game against the Stockton Thunder, was named to the AHL All-Star team earlier this month.

5:30 p.m. update: Petizian is going on 3-day IR, with Zacharias and Beau Erickson the active goalies tonight in Stockton. Also, James McEwan (lower-body) has been transferred to 7-day IR.

Jones named to AHL All-Star team.

Martin Jones’ ascent through the Kings’ system continued Tuesday with news that he was one of six goalies chosen to play in the AHL All-Star Game on Jan. 31 in Hershey, Pa.

Jones, who started the season with the Reign and recorded his first pro win in his only ECHL appearance, leads all AHL goalies with a 1.75 goals-against average. The 21-year-old native of North Vancouver is second in the league with a .943 save percentage and sports an outstanding 14-3-0 record.

Jones and defenseman Slava Voynov were the only Manchester players chosen to play in the game.

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.” »

Today’s notebook, and an important alumni update.

In case you missed it, here is today’s notebook –

It didn’t occur to me that Martin Jones might have appeared in enough games to qualify for the AHL goaltending leaders … but he has, and check out who’s first in the league in goals-against average and second in save percentage.

It seems like it’s been a long time, but Jones collected his first professional win in a Reign uniform this season less than two months ago.

(More) Ron Hextall on Martin Jones.

A little while back Ron Hextall, the Kings’ assistant general manager and GM of the Manchester Monarchs, said he wanted goaltending prospect Martin Jones to come to Ontario to get some regular playing time. He also wanted a more experienced #3 goalie with the Kings’ AHL affiliate club than Jeff Zatkoff; Erik Ersberg fit the bill after he was assigned to Manchester by the Kings.

Since then, Jones has left Ontario for Manchester and Ersberg is gone. So what’s next?
Continue reading “(More) Ron Hextall on Martin Jones.” »

Kings place Ersberg on waivers; implications for Reign.

Today we learned the real reason why Martin Jones was recalled by the Manchester Monarchs: Erik Ersberg wanted out.

Coming off three seasons in the NHL, Ersberg probably didn’t want to spend this season in the American Hockey League, which led to him being placed on unconditional waivers today by the Kings. Rich Hammond reports on that Erbserg is expected to join a KHL team; the 28-year-old Swede has never played in the KHL.

We’ll know more at 9 a.m. tomorrow, once the 24-hour waiver period has ended, but don’t be surprised if this is the last the Kings (or their minor-league affiliates) have seen of Ersberg.

What does this mean for the Reign?
Continue reading “Kings place Ersberg on waivers; implications for Reign.” »

Martin Jones to Manchester, Reign trade for Erickson

Well that didn’t take long.

One day before the Reign’s third game of the season, they lost a goaltender to the American Hockey League. The Manchester Monarchs, the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate, recalled Martin Jones in advance of a three-games-in-three-nights weekend series.

Wasting no time finding a reinforcement, the Reign acquired goaltender Beau Erickson from the South Carolina Stingrays on Thursday. The 24-year-old has played 29 ECHL games, and another in the AHL, over the last two seasons.

On the surface it seems like Jones will only be in Manchester this weekend, but that won’t be known for certain until Monday.

Erickson was deemed the odd man out on a Stingrays squad that had three goalies and was set to open its season tonight.

More about the upcoming game in Stockton, and Karl Taylor’s thoughts on using his goalies, in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.