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.
Continue reading “Elmira 3, Reign 1.” »

Getting ahead of ourselves.

When the Reign host the Stockton Thunder tomorrow, expect to see more changes on the visitor’s bench than the home bench.

Stockton last visited CBBA on Jan. 23, a game that saw former Reign goalie Garrett Zemlak stop 26 of 28 shots in a 4-2 Thunder win. Zemlak has since been traded to the Elmira Jackals — who play the Reign in three straight games beginning Friday — for forward Tyler Donati, who led the ECHL in scoring last season.

One problem: Donati couldn’t pass his physical, which revealed a shoulder injury that required surgery. So that trade was nullified, Zemlak stayed in Elmira, and the Thunder received defenseman Jody Pederson instead. Pederson had a goal and an assist in the Thunder’s last game, a 3-2 win Saturday against the Utah Grizzlies.

Expect Oilers prospect Bryan Pitton to start in goal; Sharks prospect Tyson Sexsmith was recalled to the AHL on Monday and the Thunder signed Matt Pamidi as their emergency backup today.

As expected, the Reign didn’t sneak in any foreign players ahead of yesterday’s deadline, and have stayed off the transactions wire since beating Bakersfield 4-3 on Saturday. Shawn Germain (hand) practiced with the team Tuesday and is day-to-day. He can come off 3-day IR and play tomorrow if he’s healthy. Expect an update after the morning skate.

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:
Continue reading “Reign 4, Bakersfield 3.” »

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.

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.

The turnover on defense (pun intended).

Quick, how many Reign defensemen who played Wednesday were on the team to start the season?
Continue reading “The turnover on defense (pun intended).” »

Alaska 5, Reign 3.

The Reign returned to the site of arguably their greatest success this season – a three-game sweep at Sullivan Arena in November – but fell short of their fourth straight win in Alaska.

Aaron Lewadniuk’s second goal of the game, at 14:08 of the third period, forged a 3-3 tie that didn’t last long. Forty-four seconds later former NHL center Brian Swanson restored Alaska’s lead. Scott Howes’ empty-net goal with 47 seconds left in the game sealed the Reign’s second straight loss.

Lewadniuk scored 11:57 into the first period to provide a 1-0 lead and Dusty Collins’ power-play goal made it 2-1 at 9:18 of the second. That was the last time the Reign would lead.

Linemates Swanson (goal, assist) and Howes (two goals, assist) both finished plus-3 for Alaska. Kyle Kraemer had two assists and Shawn Germain had another.

Kellen Briggs stopped 31 of 35 shots for the Reign, who face the Aces at 8:15 p.m. Saturday.

Reign 6, Las Vegas 5, OT.

For a moment there, the script seemed awfully familiar, the Reign squandering a two-goal lead to trail 5-4 midway through the third period.

What better time to reverse course, with the Christmas break behind them, two new teammates in uniform and, oh by the way, that unsightly record on home ice (2-11-0-1) they’ve been trying to get rid of all year.

Dusty Collins scored the tying goal at 13:13 of the third period, and Lane Caffaro took advantage of an overtime power play with the game-winner, lifting the Reign to a cathartic 6-5 win over the Wranglers before 6,296 at The Bank.

Pat Bowen, Kyle Kraemer, Chaz Johnson and Jeff Corey also scored for the Reign. Johnson also knocked Las Vegas starter Michael Ouzas out of the game at 7:49 of the second period, a collision that netted 17 minutes worth of penalties but brought emergency backup Archie Henderson off the bench. Henderson, who has bounced around quite a bit this season, stopped 19 of 22 in relief of Ouzas.

Kellen Briggs stopped 34 of 39 for the Reign, who welcomed former Wranglers right wing Alex Bourret (two assists) and welcomed back defenseman Shawn Germain (plus-2). The Reign scored three goals on the power play as did the Wranglers. More in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

A couple more notes that won’t make the paper:
Continue reading “Reign 6, Las Vegas 5, OT.” »

Germain is back, Bourret in, and another trade.

Shawn Germain, Alex Bourret and Doug Krantz became the newest members of the Reign on Sunday.

Germain returns to the Reign after having not played a game since February, when he elected to undergo season- and possibly career-ending wrist surgery. An original member of the Reign, the 28-year-old defenseman is known or his steady play in his own end, but also had five goals and 32 points in 114 games with the Reign.

Bourret comes to the Reign from High1, the Chuncheon, South Korea-based entry in the Asian League. The 24-year-old right wing also has experience in the AHL and ECHL (he spent most of 2009-10 with the Las Vegas Wranglers) since turning pro in 2006-07.

Krantz, a third-year defenseman, was acquired prior to the game from the Toledo Walleye. He has seven goals and 28 points in 106 regular-season games for Wheeling, Cincinnati and Toledo, as well as two goals and six points in 20 playoff games.

Training camp has arrived.

The Reign’s training camp begins today (9:30 a.m. to noon, Center Ice Arena). Check out today’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin for this weekend’s dates/times (all are free and open to the public) as well as a roster, and “five burning questions.” There’s going to be at least one name missing from the roster, as there are always some late additions. Check back here for more names as we get ’em.

Here are a few news and notes that didn’t make the paper:

• Former Reign forward Jon Rheault is either making the Calgary Flames’ opening-day roster, or becoming one of the last players cut from training camp. According to matchsticksandgasoline.com, he’ll be on the ice again tonight when the Flames take on the New York Islanders. If you caught the Flames’ win over the Phoenix Coyotes Wednesday night on the NHL Network, you would have heard a wise TSN commentator identify Rheault’s last ECHL team as the Ontario Reign of Ontario, California.

• Don’t expect Aaron Lewadniuk in camp today, because apparently he’s still busy scoring goals for the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. Matt Delahey might be. He was released from his tryout with the Providence Bruins.

• No updates as of Thursday night on any of the other AHL campers contracted to the Reign, including Dusty Collins in San Antonio and the Manchester Monarchs gang.

• I had been planning a story on Chris Curran and Shawn Germain to run this week. The two 27-year-olds where coming off serious injuries and decided to hang up their skates over the summer. Haven’t gotten a hold of Germain yet, but I’ll post what I’ve written about Curran here in the coming days.

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