Taylor on Traccitto, CHL defections, Pearce.

Caught up with Karl Taylor on the Reign signing defenseman Reggie Traccitto. He was able to add some context to the 20-goal season Traccitto just had with the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs. Their home rink, Jate Gatecliff Arena, is rather small and certainly helped, but Taylor was sold on Traccitto’s skills.

“He’s a good offensive guy who took advantage of the arena,” Taylor said.

Taylor said that Traccitto has “grown a lot the last few years” since converting from winger to defense, and is looking at him only as a defenseman.
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Robert Pearce signs in Idaho.

Robert Pearce, who played in 46 games for the Reign last season, has signed with the Idaho Steelheads according to the Idaho Statesman.

Pearce didn’t score much – five goals and 16 points – but the winger was a steady contributor on the penalty kill and was among the team’s more disciplined players (30 PIM). Pearce was not among the eight players sent qualifying offers on July 1.

The 27-year-old will be reunited in Idaho with Dustin Friesen, a college teammate at the University of New Brunswick, where the two won CIS University Cups together in 2007 and 2009.

Reign announce season-ending roster.

ECHL season-ending rosters were released today, the lists of up to 20 players from whom teams can qualify eight. The Reign’s season-ending roster included exactly 20:

Mike Egener, Chad Starling, Jon Francisco, Tim Kraus, Tony Voce, Peter Lenes, Curtis Darling, Chris Curran, Geoff Walker, Greg Hogeboom, David Walker, Sean O’Connor, Mike Zacharias, Jon Rheault, Dan Knapp, Luis Tremblay, Todd Jackson, Robert Pearce, Shawn Germain and James McEwan.

Of the players who finished 2009-10 on the Reign’s roster, five are missing:

• Defenseman Andrew Martens, who has signed in the Central Hockey League;

• Forwards C.J. Stretch and Jordan Nolan, who were playing on Amateur Tryout contracts, and therefore not eligible for the season-ending roster;
• Forward Michael Pelech and defenseman Colten Teubert, who were assigned to the Reign by the Kings.

In other words, the season-ending roster looks just as expected.

The next step in the process of whittling down who will be back next season is submitting qualifying offers.

Each team is entitled to qualify a maximum of eight players
from
the list of 20 by extending a qualifying offer no later than July 1. Of
the
eight qualified players, no more than four can be veterans (260 regular-season professional hockey games played as of the start of the 2010-11
season). Players on open qualifying offers cannot be traded. Teams are
not
required to extend a qualifying offer to players who sign a contract
prior
to July 1.

Reign announce protected list.

There were no surprises on the Reign’s protected list, announced Wednesday:

Kellen Briggs, Dusty Collins, Chris Curran, Curtis Darling, Mike
Egener, Jon Francisco, Shawn Germain, Greg Hogeboom, Todd Jackson, Dan Knapp, Tim
Kraus, Peter Lenes, Andrew Martens, James McEwan, Sean O’Connor, Robert Pearce,
Jon Rheault, Chad Starling, Jason Tejchma, Luis Tremblay, Tony Voce, David
Walker, Geoff Walker, Mike Zacharias.
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So what happened to that offensive slump?

If you believe that momentum carries over from one game to the next, you’ll like this trend: During their four-game winning streak, the Reign have scored 4, 5, 6 and 7 goals, respectively. The Reign probably won’t need 8 goals to beat the Utah Grizzlies tonight, but if the trend continues, they’ll probably take it.

This offensive about-face comes on the heels of another, less desirable trend. In the six games prior to last Friday’s 4-1 win over the Idaho Steelheads, the Reign were averaging just 1.7 goals per game. The lone win in that stretch was a 5-3 victory over the Stockton Thunder; take away that game and their goals-for average was a paltry 1.0.

What has been the difference?
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Reign 7, Utah 3.

Greg Hogeboom notched the first official regular season* hat trick at The Bank – his third three-goal game of the season – and the Reign won their fourth straight game.

“The score didn’t reflect how the game really went. It was a close game. We managed to get ahead of them in the third (period) quickly after they scored to tie it up 3-3. Four games (winning streak, we haven’t had that too often this year,” Hogeboom said.

Some other stat sheet heroes: Tim Kraus had four assists, Mike Egener had a goal and two assists, Tony Voce scored two goals, Robert Pearce had a goal, Mike Pelech had two assists. Curtis Darling stopped 28 of 31 shots and the Reign never trailed, scoring the game’s final four goals after Utah came back to tie.

More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

*Bud Holloway scored three goals April 11, 2009, in a 6-5 loss to the Stockton Thunder in Game 2 of the playoffs.

Reign 5, Idaho 4, OT.

Who’d have thunk it?

After losing 7-0 in Bakersfield on Sunday, the Reign went out and won back-to-back games against the Idaho Steelheads, the best team in the conference. Greg Hogeboom’s power-play goal at 3:40 of overtime sealed the victory in a game that saw the Steelheads outshoot the Reign 47-25.

Sean O’Connor’s seventh goal of the season, with 4:19 left in the third period, tied the game at 4. Peter Lenes, Robert Pearce and Jon Francisco also scored for the Reign, who are now one point behind the Las Vegas Wranglers for the final National Conference playoff berth.

Nine different Reign players had one assist, and goaltender Curtis Darling stopped 40 of 45 shots. The Reign went 2-for-4 on the power play and held Idaho to one power play goal in four man-advantage shifts.

Idaho 5, Reign 2.

The Reign played the mirror opposite of Saturday’s effort — taking a 2-0 lead in the first period, then allowing five unanswered, including two in the final two minutes.


Dan Knapp scored his first goal of the year, and Robert Pearce was credited with his fourth of the season when Idaho defenseman Brendan Milnamow scored into his own net, to give the Reign the early cushion.

But Idaho fought back with a hard-luck goal with 1.8 seconds left in the middle period, when Evan Barlow fired a slapshot past a stickless Mike Howe to give the Steelheads their first goal.

Idaho added goals in the third period by Mark McCutcheon, Barlow, Mark Derlago and an empty-netter by McCutcheon, when the Reign were outshot 15-3.

More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Bulletin.

Alaska 6, Reign 3.

David Walker scored twice, and Greg Hogeboom once, but the Reign extended their losing streak to five games with a loss in Anchorage.

The Reign got no closer than one goal, when Walker made it 3-2 at 3:54 of the third period, off assists from Shawn Germain and Mike Howe. Alaska responded with goals by Eric Boguniecki, John Lammers and Justin Johnson. Walker closed the scoring with 30 seconds left in the game, off assists from Germain and Rob Pearce.

The Reign play at Bakersfield on Saturday. Curtis Darling stopped 25 of 31 shots in the loss.

Las Vegas 4, Reign 2.

Surprise starter Mike Zacharias gave up goals on the first two shots he faced, and the Reign never caught up to Las Vegas in their first game in a week.


Neither team had played since they squared off against each other seven days earlier at Orleans Arena, but Zacharias was the rustiest man on the ice. He had not played since posting the win Dec. 6 against Victoria, a span of 20 days, and allowed goals to Kyle Hagel and Francis Lemieux in a span of 3:58 to start the game.

The Reign settled down considerably after that, and finished with a 34-23 advantage in shots on goal. Jon Francisco scored his fifth goal of the season, the Reign’s lone power-play goal in seven chances, at 4:45 of the second period to make it 2-1.

Mick Lawrence answered at 7:14, sending a blistering slapshot in the slot past Zacharias to push the lead back to 3-1. But the Reign took a 3-2 deficit into the third period after Francisco fed Robert Pearce for a breakaway goal at 8:53. 

Lemieux, playing his first season in the ECHL after four years spent in the AHL, got his second goal of the game with 2:29 left in the third. Zacharias was pulled for the extra attacker late, but had to go back in when Pearce crashed into Las Vegas goalie Michael Ouzas (32 saves) with 50 seconds left.

Goaltender Curtis Darling wasn’t on the bench tonight; Dennis Cook served as the emergency backup. We’ll see what the situation looks like tomorrow when the Reign host the Bakersfield Condors at 5 p.m. at The Bank.