Loktionov to Reign, Beaverson in, Pelech under pressure.

The Kings are expected to assign Manchester Monarchs forward Andrei Loktionov to the Reign for the purpose of bringing him to Southern California in advance of their game Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes. Neither the Kings nor the Reign have made an official announcement yet, and it’s doubtful that Loktionov will have time to suit up for the Reign’s game tonight against the Bakersfield Condors.

Even if he does play tonight, Loktionov won’t be in Ontario long. If Kings forward Wayne Simmonds, who injured his knee Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers, is healthy enough to play Thursday, Loktionov is expected to be sent back to Manchester. If Simmonds can’t play, then Loktionov will be added to the Kings’ roster. Simmonds participated in a full practice Wednesday and is “a possibility,” according to Kings coach Terry Murray.

Here’s what we know: Beau Erickson will be the starter in goal tonight against Bakersfield, defenseman Luke Beaverson will return to the Reign’s lineup for the first time since Dec. 17, and defenseman Doug Krantz will be scratched from the lineup.
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Bakersfield 5, Reign 4, SO.

The Reign scored four straight goals to erase a 3-0 first-period deficit, then saw the Condors force overtime and eventually win in a shootout in a rare Saturday afternoon game at Rabobank Arena.

Shawn Germain scored the go-ahead goal with 2:47 left in the third period to give the Reign a 4-3 lead. But Peter Zingoni tied the game with 46 seconds left and the Condors skating 6-on-4 with goaltender Peter Hirsch on the bench.

Bakersfield briefly thought it had the game-winning goal one minute into overtime when Adam Naglich fired a shot past Beau Erickson (36 saves), but the goal was waved off on grounds that Condors forward Pascal Morency had interfered with Erickson in the crease.

The Condors waited until the shootout to pick up the extra point, scoring on three of their first four attempts against Erickson and clinching the win when Alex Bourret’s slapshot was saved by Hirsch on the other end.

David Walker, Aaron Lewadniuk and Michael Pelech scored second-period goals to tie the game at 3. Seven different players collected assists, and Erickson made 36 saves.

More details 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.

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.

Taylor, Pelech on Dwight King.

Karl Taylor and Michael Pelech both exchanged text messages with Dwight King on Tuesday, when King became the first Reign player ever to get an NHL call-up.

(I should point out that Jon Rheault played in five preseason games with the Calgary Flames this season after being invited to their NHL training camp. In terms of regular-season call-ups at least, King’s is the first.)

“We’re very excited for him,” Taylor said. “Hopefully he gets a chance to play, does well. He’s nervous, obviously real excited – a young man getting to chance his dream.”

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Reign 2, Alaska 1, OT.

Karl Taylor said Monday that he hoped the Reign’s seven-game losing streak amounted to “our slump for the season.” That thinking seems less wishful, and a bit closer to reality, after a 2-1 overtime win in Alaska on Friday.

The Reign won despite being outshot 39-14. Kellen Briggs made 37 saves, and Jeff Corey’s end-to-end goal ended the game 39 seconds into overtime. Michael Pelech scored with 9:19 left in the third period to tie the game at 1, his first goal coming in his second game back from the American Hockey League.

The two teams play again Saturday night at Sullivan Arena.

A couple notes on tonight’s game.

As expected, center Michael Pelech and defenseman Jordan Hill were officially added to the Reign’s roster for tonight’s game against the Alaska Aces.

The Reign will try to snap their six-game losing streak in different uniforms – specially designed red, white and blue uniforms in honor of Military Night – which will then be auctioned off to fans after the game. Proceeds will be distributed to veterans organizations throughout Southern California.

A number of local military members and their families are expected to be in attendance.

Traccitto, Popko cut as Reign make room.

Forward Luke Popko and defenseman Reggie Traccitto saw their respective tenures in Ontario end Friday.

Michael Pelech and Jordan Hill are expected to be added to the roster in time for tomorrow night’s game against the Alaska Aces, and Popko and Traccitto — both rookies — were determined the odd men out.

“They’re both very nice kids,” coach Karl Taylor said. “In my evaluations I had other people ahead of them. I was forced to make a decision.”

Traccitto had one assist and a team-low minus-5 rating this season, having appeared in all eight regular-season games. He had signed with the Reign in the summer following a strong 19-year-old season in the Ontario Hockey League.

“We’ve had some injury issues as well. If we were healthy, he probably wouldn’t have (played in every game),” Taylor said. “We probably would have worked him out of the lineup. But with Eric’s injury, and with Pat Bowen’s passport issue and having to put him on 21-day (IR), we haven’t had the opportunity to get him into it. When Jordan (Hill) came, we had to make a move.”

The 22-year-old Popko was scoreless with a minus-2 rating in three regular-season games, after going scoreless with a minus-1 rating in two preseason games.

Taylor said that the former Boston University standout was a “class act, an unbelievable person. … We just felt that other guys have shown more than he has. Doesn’t mean he’s not a good player, it just didn’t work out here.

“We wish them both all the best, they’re good kids.”

More in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin, including reactions from Hill and Pelech.

Pelech, Hill leaving Manchester.

Michael Pelech is coming back to Ontario and Jordan Hill is poised to join him. Pelech was assigned to the Reign by the Kings and Hill, who signed with the Reign this summer, was released from his pro tryout contract Thursday by the American Hockey League’s Manchester Monarchs.

Pelech, 21, spent all of 2009-10 with the Reign but had been in Manchester to start the new season. The 6-foot-3, 209-pound winger had no points and six penalty minutes in five games for the Monarchs. He’ll add some height and energy to the Reign; most of his 10 goals last season came at the net front, where Pelech tended to make a living screening opposing goaltenders and getting to loose pucks. Pelech also had 25 assists and 133 penalty minutes in 72 games last season. He signed a one-year AHL contract with the Monarchs in August.

Hill, 21, was signed by the Reign as a free agent this summer but latched on in Manchester on a pro tryout contract. The defenseman had no points and two penalty minutes in five AHL games. Under the terms of his contract, Hill was able to stay in Manchester for up to 25 games into the season before he has to sign a new deal and could be released at any time.

Neither Pelech nor Hill is in the lineup tonight against the Alaska Aces.