Alaska 3, Reign 2, shootout.

In a game that finished just before 11 p.m. Pacific time, the Reign came up empty in the shootout after playing the Alaska Aces to a 2-2 tie through 65 minutes.

Michael Pelech and Tim Kraus scored to give the Reign a 2-0 lead they held until late in the second period. The Reign (13-15-2-2) then had to hang on after being outshot 12-3 in the third period. Curtis Darling stopped 35 of 37 shots in net.

Pelech’s fourth goal of the season came during a Reign power playat 3:35 of the first period. Mike Howe and defenseman Mike Egener picked up the assists. Kraus made it 2-0 at 6:08 of the middle period, putting a slapshot in from the left circle off assists from Greg Hogeboom and Shawn Germain.

But Alaska netminder Scott Reid took over from there, while Jason Ryznar (with 23 seconds left in the second) and and Bryan Miller (4:00 into the third) managed to tie the game up. Reid took over in the shootout, stoning Tony Voce, Hogeboom, Peter Lenes and Chad Starling in order, while Nick Mazzolini and Alexandre Imbeault scored on Darling.

The Reign will play the Aces again tomorrow night — their ninth game away from home out of 13 games in December — and ring in the New Year in Alaska an hour later than the rest of us.

In case you missed it, Lenes, Hogeboom, David Walker and Jon Rheault (who’s been in Manchester the last month) were named to the National Conference All-Star team earlier Wednesday.

Reign 5, Idaho 3.

A night after being shut out on seven power-play opportunities, the Reign didn’t take any prime scoring chances to chance.

Peter Lenes, Tim Kraus, Mike Howe, Greg Hogeboom and Jon Francisco scored goals — the latter four on the power play — as the Reign skated away with a resounding win at Qwest Arena in Boise. 

The Reign finished 4-for-6 with the man advantage. In so doing they ruined the goals-against average of Steelheads goalie Rejean Beauchemin, who entered the game with the second-lowest GAA in the ECHL. They also solved the league’s second-best penalty kill; Idaho entered the game having killed 85.6 percent of opponents’ power plays.

Curtis Darling stopped 21 of 24 shots for the victory, and Lenes, Hogeboom and Rob Pearce each collected two assists.

More details in tomorrow’s editions.

Reign 8, Stockton 2.

Peter Lenes scored twice, Greg Hogeboom, Dwight King, Geoff Walker, Mike Howe, David Walker and Michael Pelech added one apiece, and the Reign matched a franchise record with eight goals.

Jon Francisco and Geoff Walker had two assists apiece, and David Walker (who engaged in two fights) fell one assist shy of a Gordie Howe Hat Trick.

The two teams will meet again at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Bank. More details in tomorrow’s editions.

Reign 4, Las Vegas 3, shootout.

Chad Starling scored the only goal in the shootout, and Mike Howe, Greg Hogeboom, Jon Rheault and Dwight King scored in regulation for the Reign at Center Ice Arena.

The game was back-and-forth, and the Reign showed more aggression (and discipline) than they did a night before in a 5-2 loss in Las Vegas.

Mike Zacharias made 28 saves in regulation and was perfect in overtime and the shootout.

For the second straight year, the Reign finished the preseason 1-1, winning their home game and losing on the road. More details in tomorrow’s editions.

Reign at Las Vegas, 7 p.m. tonight. Update.

As with any sport, the value of an ECHL preseason game lies less in getting a win as much as assessing the team’s talent, deciding who to keep and who to cut.

“We’ll try to get everybody in and if not, oh well. That’s life,” Reign coach Karl Taylor said.

In a way, this is an even more delicate exercise in the ECHL, with so much turnover from year to year (although the Reign have a particularly high retention rate — 12 of the 30 players who appeared in a game last season are back). But for more than half of his 27 players, Karl Taylor has no frame of reference for how they’ll execute for him in a game. On the other hand, there can be as much turnover during the ECHL season as the off-season because of AHL recalls, injuries, trades, and the occasional roster cut. Maybe none of the players on tonight’s roster will make it through to the end of the season in Ontario.

That said, here they are:
Continue reading “Reign at Las Vegas, 7 p.m. tonight. Update.” »

Reign camp notes, Day 1.

Here are some quick hits from this morning’s practice at Center Ice Arena. Look for more in tomorrow’s editions …

— The returning players we spotted on the ice: Jon Francisco, Jon Rheault, Todd Jackson, Mike Howe, Tim Kraus, Doug Spooner, Chris Curran, Shawn Germain, Chad Starling, Andrew Martens and David Walker.

— Twenty-three players were on the ice in total, including Curran, who doesn’t look like he’s been cleared for contact. Tony Voce, who spent the past two seasons in Europe following a promising start in the AHL, is also under contract but in an AHL camp. Geoff Walker is still in Manchester. Another three players were held out due to various injuries.

— Generally speaking, the team is bigger and in better shape than it was a year ago. All the returning players seem physically trim; combine that with a few haircuts (notably Chad Starling, Shawn Germain and Doug Spooner), and this is a team that should be flying up and down the ice.

— Huntington Beach native Cameron Cepek, a defenseman who was selected in the seventh round of the 2006 NHL draft by Montreal, was a late roster addition.

— The team has a full day of off-ice events planned for Saturday, including some time at the beach and at the Kings’ game against the Phoenix Coyotes.