Las Vegas 7, Reign 4.

Mike Zacharias summed up the collective frustration in the building by tossing his stick when the game’s final goal sailed into the Reign net.

“It’s not them scoring on our goalie, it’s them scoring on us,” David Walker said. “We all take a piece of the pie.”

But clearly the Reign need more than the tandem of Zacharias and emergency backup Dennis Cook, who can’t play unless Zacharias is hurt. That’s why Karl Taylor, who almost never names his starting goalie, named Jase Weslosky the starting goalie for Saturday night’s game against Las Vegas — and Weslosky wasn’t even in Ontario yet.

The Wranglers’ seventh goal, by Ryan Huddy, was one of only two Zacharias allowed that you would expect the goalie to make most of the time. The other five were the result of defensive-zone turnovers, missed backchecks, and odd-man rushes against — the unholy triumvirate of defensive lapses that has doomed the Reign all season.

That said, Zacharias was lucky that he didn’t give up nine goals. One shot trickled through between his legs, got behind him and was heading for the goal line before Alex Bourret (goal, assist) swept it out. Another scoring chance ended when Justin Bernhardt hit the post in front of a wide-open net from — no joke — three feet away.

Doug Krantz, Kyle Kraemer, C.J. Stretch and Bourret scored the goals; Kraemer and Bourret’s came on the power play. The Reign outshot an opponent for the second straight game (40-31) and their offense was humming so well, it wasn’t unreasonable to expect a comeback from down 6-4. That’s why Huddy’s goal, with 2:02 left, was so frustrating.

More on the Weslosky and Craig Gaudet trades in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin. A few more notes/observations:
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Reign 6, Victoria 3.

The Reign have successfully hit the “reset” button.

Kellen Briggs made 47 saves, including all 19 he faced in the third period, en route to the Reign’s second straight win. Led by Briggs, the penalty kill awoke from its long slumber to snuff out four of the Salmon Kings’ five man-advantage chances.

Ten different players recorded a point for the Reign, led by Chaz Johnson’s two-goal effort – he scored them 17 seconds apart in the second period to break a 3-3 tie. Jordan Morrison and Kyle Kraemer each had a goal and an assist; Jeff Corey and Lane Caffaro had one goal each; and Dusty Collins and David Walker both had two assists.

The Reign scored six goals for the second straight game despite getting outshot 50-28. Corey, Kraemer and Caffaro have two goals the past two games, and Johnson has three. Newcomer Alex Bourret has two assists in the three games.

Another newcomer, defenseman Doug Krantz, made his Reign debut and was held without a point. Defenseman Luke Beaverson missed his second straight game.

Former Reign center Tim Kraus was held without a point in his first game against his former team.

The two teams play again at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Victoria.

No Dylan Hunter, and other notes.

Reign coach Karl Taylor said through a team spokesperson that Monday’s ECHL transactions report erroneously showed the Reign signing a defenseman named Dylan Hunter. A forward by the same name, the son of former NHL player Dale Hunter, is under contract to the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones. Hockeydb.com has no record of any defensemen named Dylan Hunter, so we’re guessing the ECHL goofed.

Also Monday, left wing James McEwan was placed on 3-day injured reserve while center C.J. Stretch was transferred to 7-day injured reserve and defenseman Eric Doyle (upper-body) was transferred to 21-day injured reserve.

No word yet as to whether defenseman Doug Krantz will be joining the team in Victoria, where the Reign will play Tim Kraus and the Victoria Salmon Kings in back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday.

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

Tim Kraus signs with Victoria Salmon Kings.

Former Reign forward Tim Kraus is joining the Victoria Salmon Kings.

An original member of the inaugural Reign squad, Kraus is no stranger to British Columbia. He spent four years playing for the nearby Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League and has often referred to the area as his “second home.” That made Kraus’ choice a bit easier; he said he also had an offer from the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings.

“I love Vancouver,” he said. “I still have plenty of family and friends up there.”

Kraus, who was placed on waivers Friday, had no goals and six assists in 16 games this season for the Reign. He’ll get two quick chances to face his former team on Dec. 28 and 29 in Victoria, but the two teams don’t meet again the rest of the season.

The Salmon Kings (10-12-1-2) visit the Idaho Steelheads on Wednesday and Friday.

Kraus: ‘I knew it was coming.’ Update.

Tim Kraus may have been the least surprised of anyone when he was placed on waivers Friday.

An original member of the Reign, the center from Garden Grove had been a healthy scratch in four straight games.

“I suggested to Karl that I wanted to be moved and he tried to move me, I believe,” Kraus said. “I think I talked to him early in the week. I think he tried to get me into a good situation but it wasn’t going to happen through trade.”
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Reign 4, Utah 3.

There’s no place like home, but there’s been no place better for the Reign than the road.

A 4-3 win over the Utah Grizzlies on Friday at the E-Center was the Reign’s fourth straight win away from The Bank. Goals by Aaron Lewadniuk, Chaz Johnson, Michael Pelech (short-handed) and Lane Caffaro ended the Reign’s losing skid at 2, and toppled the best team in the Western Conference.

The Reign played with the same lineup as they did in Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to the Bakersfield Condors. Defenseman Pat Bowen played his second straight game in favor of Eric Doyle and Matt Delahey; Chad Starling (lower-body injury) is still on IR. Forwards Kyle Kraemer (knee) and Jon Francisco (lower-body) remained out, and center Tim Kraus was scratched again.

Kellen Briggs made his 17th straight start and stopped 31 of 34.

Pelech also had an assist, as did Luke Beaverson, Brett O’Malley and Jordan Hill.

The two teams meet again at 6 p.m. tonight. More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

Bakersfield 5, Reign 4.

Jeff Corey, Brett O’Malley, Justin Taylor and Aaron Lewadniuk scored goals – the Reign’s biggest offensive outburst in seven games – but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Reign’s second straight loss, their fifth setback in their last six.

As was the case in a 7-3 loss to the Utah Grizzlies on Sunday, the bigger problems were in the Reign’s own end. All of the Condors’ goals came from close range, including the game-winner by Erick Lizon on a second-chance effort with 7:44 to play in the third. Kellen Briggs made 21 saves, stopping every shot that came at him from a distance and a few that didn’t.

Chaz Johnson returned to the lineup for the Reign and was held scoreless skating on a line with O’Malley and Michael Pelech. Pat Bowen made his first appearance in a Reign uniform, subbing in for Eric Doyle on defense. Center Tim Kraus was also a healthy scratch.

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

Victoria 5, Reign 2.

The Reign had their chances in Victoria, but not nearly as many as the Salmon Kings.

The Salmon Kings led by scores of 2-0 after one period, and 3-1 after two, before Shawn Collymore’s second goal of the season drew the Reign within 3-2 at 1:24 of the third period.

But that was as close as they would get. Chad Painchaud’s second goal of the game made it 4-2 at 6:15, and Milan Gajic closed the scoring at 12:16 of the third period.

Kellen Briggs stopped 29 of 34 shots in a game in which the Reign were outshot 34-27 despite having seven power plays to the Salmon Kings’ three.

Kyle Kraemer’s power play goal at 14:25 of the second period got the Reign on the board against goaltender David Shantz, who stopped 25 of 27.

Center Tim Kraus and defenseman Lane Caffaro, acquired Monday from the Idaho Steelheads, had assists on both goals.

Reign add another defenseman.

Lane Caffaro is the newest member of the Reign. The 26-year-old defenseman was acquired today from the Idaho Steelheads for future considerations.

Caffaro has played in 25 AHL games and 32 ECHL games in his pro career, beginning with a four-game stint in 2008-09 with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre Penguins following his four-year career at Union College (Schenectady, NY). In two games this season, he has no points and seven penalty minutes for the Steelheads.

The plan Monday was for Caffaro to drive to Ontario from Boise, then fly with the Reign to Victoria, British Columbia, for a three-game series beginning Wednesday against the Salmon Kings.

Defenseman Eric Doyle was injured and didn’t take part in practice, and Brett O’Malley was wearing the red jersey reserved for non-contact players. Defenseman Pat Bowen, acquired last week from Greenville, was healthy and set to go into the lineup but won’t be able to play in Victoria due to a passport issue.

The specific issue? He doesn’t have one.

Jordan Morrison was skating with Jeff Corey and Jon Francisco, and Pierre-Andre Bureau took Morrison’s place on the line with Shawn Collymore and Chaz Johnson. New goaltender Beau Erickson – who was available for both ends of the weekend series against the Stockton Thunder was nearly perfect in an end-of-practice shootout drill, allowing only a goal to Tim Kraus. Johnson, Chad Starling, Collymore and Matt Delahey put shots past Kellen Briggs.

Much, much more in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin, including comments from the ECHL’s Director of Officiating on Saturday’s goal that wasn’t.