Reign 4, Stockton 0.

Kellen Briggs stopped all 40 shots he faced and the Reign got two goals from defenseman David Walker, one each from new linemates Kyle Kraemer and Tim Kraus. The win evens the Reign’s preseason record at 1-1, having lost 6-2 the night before in Stockton.

Garrett Zemlak sat out the game on the bench, and Mike Zacharias didn’t get in either game at all, but Karl Taylor said he hasn’t made a decision yet on who will back up Martin Jones.

More on that and the rest of the game in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

O’Malley joins Reign.

Checking in from vacation to report that Brett O’Malley, a 26-year-old rookie out of the University of Calgary, has signed with the Reign for next season.

The center from Settler, Alberta, had 58 goals, 104 points and 210 penalty minutes in 149 college games. Last season he posted nine goals and 14 points in 20 games for a Dinos team that went 13-12-3. O’Malley, 5-foot-11 and 168 pounds, gives the Reign another right-handed shot along with forwards Jon Francisco, Tim Kraus, Aaron Lewadniuk and C.J. Stretch, who are all under contract for next season.

Taylor on re-signing Tim Kraus.

It’s not often that an undrafted free-agent hockey player invests the first three years of his pro career in an ECHL team. But the relationship between Tim Kraus and the Ontario Reign is unique. The Garden Grove native is unusually committed to helping his “home-town” team succeed, and the feeling seems to be mutual.

Reign coach Karl Taylor knows what it will take for Kraus get to the next level of pro hockey and is willing to help.

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Tim Kraus re-signs.

Center Tim Kraus has re-signed with the Reign.

The 23-year-old from Garden Grove was second on the team in scoring last season, with 53 points (16 goals, 37 assists) in 70 games. He also collected 68 penalty minutes and a plus-7 rating while seeing time on both the power play and the penalty kill.

Kraus said Thursday that he’s confident he will be able to rebound from a slow start that saw him score two goals in his first 20 games last year. Even after a disappointing season that saw the Reign miss the playoffs entirely, Kraus said there was no place he’d rather play.

“Pretty much as soon as last season ended I knew I’d be coming back, unless I was offered something in a better league. I didn’t see that happening after this year. I hadn’t gotten the opportunity to go up (to the AHL) last year. I don’t have an agent as well. I just felt it wouldn’t be my time – I haven’t had that experience yet,” he said.

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

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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Reign 7, Las Vegas 1.

Looking more relaxed than they had all season, the Reign exploded for seven goals, and got a 27-save effort from Mike Zacharias. However high of a note they could go out on, one day after missing the playoffs, the Reign found it.

It was a particularly good night for Chad Starling, Colten Teubert, Jordan Nolan and C.J. Stretch, each of whom scored his first goal of the season. Greg Hogeboom scored his team-leading 32nd, Geoff Walker scored his 7th and Mike Egener his 11th.

Tim Kraus picked up three assists and Walker added two helpers. Teubert and Starling both finished plus-4 and the Reign killed all five short-handed situations.

Jon Rheault – who would have been playing his eighth game in 10 days – was held out, as was Peter Lenes, who was ineligible to come off IR. Dan Knapp stepped in for Luis Tremblay on defense.

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

Update from Friday’s morning skate.

Today’s morning skate at the Orleans Arena was optional for the Reign, and 11 players took to the ice: Greg Hogeboom, Tim Kraus, Chad Starling, Andrew Martens, Mike Egener, Luis Tremblay, Dan Knapp, Peter Lenes, C.J. Stretch, Jordan Nolan, and Mike Zacharias.

Zacharias was the only goalie on the ice, which in most cases (barring injuries or other unforeseen circumstances) means that he’ll be the backup in the game. Expect Curtis Darling – who turned in a good performance in a losing effort Thursday – to get his second straight start.

I caught up with Nolan and Karl Taylor to discuss Nolan’s pro debut; more on that in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

Here are the elimination scenarios for tonight:

- If the Reign lose in regulation, or Victoria beats Utah (7 p.m. Pacific start time in British Columbia), the Reign are eliminated from playoff contention.
- If the Reign lose in overtime or a shootout, they need Victoria to lose in regulation in order to avoid elimination.
- If the Reign win (either in regulation or in overtime/shootout), they need Victoria to lose (either in regulation or overtime/shootout) to avoid elimination.

Taking all of tonight’s nine potential scenarios into account, the Reign are eliminated in six of them. They need help.

Tonight and tomorrow, get used to the phrase “Go Grizzlies!”

Las Vegas 5, Reign 2.

The Reign allowed three power-play goals and had to kill 10 penalties at all, turning a close contest into a futile game of catch-up in the third period.

The standings picture is bleak. Not only will the Reign have to win their final two games, but they’ll need the Utah Grizzlies to win both of their final two games in Victoria and at least one win must be in regulation.

Otherwise, the Reign will be the only team in an eight-team conference to miss the postseason.
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