Elmira 3, Reign 1.

All good things – like winning streaks and interconference series – must come to an end.

Clearly tired at the end of their third game in three nights, and fourth in five days, the Reign sputtered to a 3-1 loss in their series finale against Elmira. The Reign started strong but managed just four shots in the third period and couldn’t convert on the power play after the first period.

The Jackals halted their four-game losing streak on the strength of two goals by Jason Bailey and another by Patrick Coulombe, who potted the game-winner during a 4-on-3 power play with 1:43 left in the third period. Bailey’s goal into an empty net with 3.2 seconds left completed the scoring.

Chaz Johnson scored the Reign’s only goal by deflecting a point shot by David Walker past TImo Pielmeier at 8:58 of the first period.

Mike Zacharias stopped 32 in one of those puzzling games for a goalie. Two fairly straightforward shots, by Bailey in the first period and Coulombe in the third, got past him. The rest of the game, facing one breakaway after another, he was perfect – strong positionally and when he needed to move laterally in the crease.

More details in tomorrow’s editions.
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Reign 6, Elmira 5, OT.

Alex Bourret’s goal with 1:04 left in overtime gave the Reign something they’ve been waiting a long time for: Back-to-back wins at home.

Jordan Morrison completed a four-point game by corralling the rebound of a David Walker shot behind the net, then spotting Bourret streaking through the right faceoff circle for the game-winner.

That capped an impressive comeback by the Reign (17-28-2-2), who had trailed Elmira by scores of 3-0, 4-1 and 5-3. Morrison, Chaz Johnson, Shawn Collymore and Kyle Kraemer also scored goals. Johnson finished plus-3 and was on the ice for all but one of the Reign’s goals.

The six-goal outburst matched a season high, and the win brought them within seven points of seventh-place Victoria (21-25-1-2) in the Western Conference standings.

Beau Erickson was fighting the puck early, but benefited from some third-period adjustments that allowed the Reign to spend more time in the offensive zone and outshoot Elmira 10-7. Erickson finished with 27 saves.

Timo Pielmeier (22 saves) started the week as the Ducks’ backup goalie, but finished on the losing end of his first game with the Jackals.

Because I didn’t mention it in the paper: The Reign were sporting vintage Forum-blue-and-gold Kings jerseys, with a crown on the front of the sweater and the Reign logo on the shoulder patch. They looked sharp.

Because they were auctioned off after the game, they won’t be worn again. And because they play in the Eastern Conference, Elmira won’t be back this season after tomorrow.

The Reign would probably like to see both the jerseys and the Jackals back.

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

Reign 5, Elmira 4, SO.

Can the Jackals visit the Inland Empire more than one weekend a year?

The first-ever interconference game at CBBA, a true contrast in coaching philosophies and playing styles, needed the shootout to determine a winner. It resulted in a badly needed two points for the Reign, who kept pace with the victorious Victoria Salmon Kings (2-0 over Las Vegas) to remain nine points out of seventh place.

After Andrew Sweetland’s forehand wrister beat Beau Erickson in the second round, Jordan Morrison answered on the next shot by waiting out Garrett Zemlak with a high forehand wrister. In the fifth and final round, Justin Taylor reached around Zemlak’s back leg to put the Reign ahead for good. Erickson denied A.J. Perry on the other end to seal the win – the Reign’s second in the shootout this season.

Chaz Johnson scored two goals against the team he played for from 2007-10, Shawn Collymore scored a pair of goals, and Morrison added three assists.

It was a gutsy performance from Taylor, who didn’t play the entire second period after being leveled to the ice on a clean shoulder-to-shoulder check into the boards late in the first. He looked especially slow on his skates in the third period compared to a fast, fast Elmira team, but speed was not needed in the shootout. Just the long reach.

More game details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Bulletin. A few more notes:
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Reign 4, Bakersfield 3.

The Reign won at home, and it was really no secret why. Between the three teeth Brett O’Malley left on the ice, a long and courageous fight by David Walker late in the third period, and plenty of blocked shots along the way, the effort was apparent all over the ice.

“We need to have that effort,” coach Karl Taylor said. “That extra 5, 10 percent was there tonight. I thought Bako played well. It was an entertaining game. That’s what it’s all about. There was a lot of sacrifice on the ice by the guys tonight.”

Jordan Morrison’s second-chance goal waith 8:32 left in the third period ended up being the game-winner. The Reign outshot the Condors 39-32, killed all three Bakersfield penalties, and got a solid 29-save performance from Mike Zacharias.

Morrison, Chaz Johnson and Alex Bourret each had a goal and an assist, Shawn Collymore had a pair of assists and Kyle Kraemer scored his second goal in as many games.

A few more notes that didn’t make tomorrow’s story:
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Utah 3, Reign 2, OT.

Hugo Carpentier’s goal at 2:09 of overtime completed the Grizzlies’ comeback from a 2-0 deficit, giving the Reign a valuable point in the standings but wasting a golden opportunity for a win on the road.

For the first time since December, the Reign weren’t outshot. Beau Erickson stopped 36 of 39 for the Reign, and Andrew Engelage stopped 37 of 39 for the Grizzlies. The Reign benefited from a second period that saw Utah take 10 penalties, resulting in six power plays and a 20-10 shots advantage.

All Ontario had to show for that second-period opportunity was a 5-on-3 power-play goal by Dusty Collins at 5:32, and an even-strength marker by Shawn Collymore at 11:43. Clearly, Lane Caffaro’s absence was felt. His ability to get shots through to the net could have made a noticeable difference in a close, power-play heavy game like this.

Utah began its comeback just 27 seconds after Collymore’s goal, when a long shot by Marcus Carroll beat a screened Erickson. With 3:57 left in the third period, Matt Clarke tied the game at 2 with his wrist shot from the left faceoff circle.

It stayed tied until Carpentier’s goal, one second after a penalty to Reign defenseman Jason Fredricks expired. Though Fredricks could do little to prevent the goal as he exited the penalty box, the Reign officially finished 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.

The standings point put a dent in the gap between Ontario and seventh-place Victoria in the Western Conference standings, bringing the Reign eight points back with one game in hand.

The Reign and Grizzlies play again tonight.

Stockton 4, Reign 2.

The third period wasn’t the problem. The penalty-kill was.

Stockton scored on its first three power plays en route to a 4-2 win to cap a three-game weekend sweep of the Reign at CBBA.

Shawn Collymore scored both Reign goals, both on the power
play, both the result of persistence with pucks in the crease against
Garrett Zemlak. Zemlak, who started the season with the Reign, stopped
26 shots and even got into a fight late in the second period.

Mike Zacharias stopped 27 of 30 for the Reign. He was great at times, but let in a soft goal by Ryan Constant in the second period that proved to be the game-winner.

Another player who started the season in Ontario, Pierre-Andre Bureau, had an empty-net goal and two assists for the Thunder.

Shawn Germain missed the game to attend a firefighting class in Canada. Doug Krantz filled in on the blue line (and played fairly well). James McEwan also got back into the lineup and engaged in two highly entertaining fights.

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

Stockton 7, Reign 2.

Coming off their first shutout of the season, the Reign surrendered seven goals – one off their season high – and their modest four-game point streak came to an end in a flurry of fisticuffs Friday at Stockton Arena.

There were plenty of goals, but also seven fights – two by Doug Krantz (against Craig Valette and Jordan Foreman), and one each for David Walker, Aaron Lewadniuk, Michael Pelech, Luke Beaverson and Chaz Johnson. Garet Hunt and Jordan Fulton were involved in two fights each for Stockton.

Trailing 3-2 on goals by Shawn Collymore and Jordan Morrison heading into the final period, the Reign surrendered two goals in the first two minutes. Stockton scored twice more, at 12:53 and 16:34, and four fights broke out after that.

The Reign (13-23-0-2) were outshot 14-5 in the final period, which didn’t make life easy on Beau Erickson. The goalie was in net for all seven Thunder goals and stopped 24 shots. Mike Zacharias served as the backup in his return to the Reign.

The Thunder (19-11-2-4) have won six straight and are averaging 4.8 goals per game during the streak. The teams meet again tomorrow at Stockton Arena before concluding the 3-in-3 in Ontario on Sunday.

Reign 1, Bakersfield 0.

The Reign waited 37 games to record their first shutout of the season, and goalie Beau Erickson – a witness to the frustration since Week 2 – literally jumped off the ice to celebrate the occasion.

“It was a long time coming,” he said. “I didn’t make a whole lot of difficult saves … maybe two or three tough saves tonight. I got a little help. They hit the post a couple times tonight.”

By itself, it was a fairly routine 27-save shutout for Erickson, backed by a second-period wraparound goal by Michael Pelech.

But in contrast to the rest of the season, it looked like a turning point for a defense that had only recently begun to jell. The outlet passes were closer to the tape of teammates’ sticks. Shooting lanes and passing lanes were clogged. There was more function than dysfunction.

Bakersfield (20-17-1-0) clogged its share of shooting and passing lanes too, at times frustrating the Reign despite a respectable 25-shot offensive effort. Pelech’s second-period wraparound on Brian Stewart was the game’s only goal.

It was somewhat typical of a win from Year 1 in these parts – outshot, and at times outchanced, but the Reign had slightly better goaltending and defense.

Plenty more from Erickson, Pelech and coach Karl Taylor in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin. A few more notes:
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Reign 2, Las Vegas 1.

Dusty Collins scored his second game-winning goal in as many games this week, lifting the Reign to back-to-back wins for the first time in five weeks.

Shawn Collymore also scored for the Reign, who took advantage of a strong penalty kill (5-for-5) and a strong night in the faceoff circle to hold the Wranglers to 29 shots on goal. Beau Erickson (2-5-0) made 28 saves, including eight during a first-period two-man advantage for Las Vegas.

The Wranglers’ only goal was a short-handed marker by Greg Collins at 13:00 of the second period. Dusty Collins answered with the game-winner 37 seconds later.

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

Delahey leaves the team, and other notes from practice.

Put another defenseman at the top of the Reign’s Christmas wish list.

Matt Delahey has left for the University of Saskatchewan and has been suspended by the team. The 21-year-old rookie from Moose Jaw had two goals and three assists in 20 games in his first pro season, and played his final game Saturday against Bakersfield.

Delahey did not sign after he was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the fourth round of the 2008 draft. Last year he had four goals and 22 points in his final WHL season, split between the Regina Pats and the Chilliwack Bruins.

Delahey was one of a few absentees at today’s intrasquad scrimmage, along with defenseman Luke Beaverson and right wing Jeff Corey, who were given maintenance days. Defenseman Chad Starling (lower body) skated on his own for 30-45 minutes prior to the scrimmage. His target return date has been pushed back to Sunday.

Plenty more in tomorrow’s notebook, including why Shawn Collymore didn’t play Saturday and why Jon Francisco might not be standing behind the Reign’s bench much longer.