With the help of two late-game empty-net goals, the Ontario Reign finally return home to southern California with a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Eagles, Saturday night at Budweiser Events Center.
Forward Kevin Ulanski and center Riley Nelson paired up to put up the first goal of the game for the Eagles, credited to Ulanski. The goal came off the Eagles’ first shot at the 2:53 mark in the first period.
Back-to-back Pacific Division Champions, the Reign saw their first goal of the evening at 12:41 off a shot from Steven Tarasuk, his first goal of the season. Tarasuk rocketed the puck past an out-of-reach Mark Cheverie to tie the score.
Tarasuk led the ice with 4 shots for the evening, as the Reign out-shot the Eagles 29 to 26.
Maxim Kitsyn gave the Reign the go-ahead goal with a rocket from the right circle. Matt White and Matt Register both earned credits with the second goal of the night.
Seeking the tying point, the Eagles pulled Cheverie for an extra attacker in the final moments of the third period. Taking advantage of the open net, Sebastian Stalberg sent a shot into the open cage to put the visitors up 3-1. The Eagles’ extra attacker was of no use as the Reign’s Everett Sheen put away another to finalize the score at 4-1.
Olkinuora picked up the win with 25 saves; Cheverie took the loss also with 25 saves.
Five players saw time in the penalty box; three from the Eagles, and two from the visitors.
With tonight’s result, the Reign sit comfortably in first in the Pacific Division, eighteen points ahead of the Stockton Thunder. The Eagles sit in second position in the Mountain Division, trailing the Alaska Aces by ten points.
The Reign now return home after their three-game road series to face the Idaho Steelheads at 7 p.m.