(photo: Dinur Blum)
The Ontario Reign have done it again. After beating the Idaho Steelheads on Thursday, Saturday’s game proved to be in their favor with a 2-1 win. They were dominant during the second period and kept it going through the rest of the game to defeat Idaho in the last of their three game meet.
During their last meet, Reign’s Judd Blackwater knocked it out of the park with two goals and one assist. He now has a 100th career goal record to add to his name. Tyler Spurgeon‘s assist to Blackwater also marked his 100th career pro assist. Forward Rocco Carzo‘s two goals from Thursday also make it five in total for him so far this season. Even with great stats, the third game between both teams was not going to be an easy one. During Thursday’s game, the Reign did not manage to get even one power power play opportunity against the Steelheads. Anytime that Idaho was called for a penalty, they were neutralized with penalties from Ontario.
The first period started out just to see who would even be able to make that first score. The Steelheads were out on the offensive and the game started off with a great save by Jussi Olkinuora. The Reign had a chance to score by Carzo at 12:36 but was instead called on for goalie interference on Olivier Roy. Throughout the first, the Steelheads repeatedly made it into the Reign’s zone and had chances to score but it was no match for Olkinuora. The first ended scoreless for both teams and 13 shots on goal for Idaho while the Reign ended with five.
The remainder of Maxim Kitsyn‘s penalty rolled over into the second and the Reign proved to not let that bother them at all. After Reign left winger Everett Sheen got elbowed by Steelheads defenseman Eamonn McDermott, Ontario had a chance to score the first goal of the night on a power play and that is just what they did. Reign right winger Geoff Walker buried the puck into Idaho’s goal at 3:58 to finally make the game 1-0. That power play goal definitely woke Ontario up because now their engines were revving as defenseman Norm Ezekiel laid a big hit on the Idaho’s big boy defenseman Troy Vance. The Reign had a few other scoring chances when Kitsyn, Walker, and Nolan Julseth-White all shot almost right after one another but Roy managed to keep them all from passing by him. After another power play, Ontario defenseman Ralfs Freibergs was able to get the puck past Roy to score again at 17:42. Just minutes after the second power play goal, the Steelheads pulled forward to score one goal during the period. The second ended with Idaho trailing behind Ontario 2-1.
With a score so close, it was not the time for the Reign to sit back and take it easy in the third period. Reign defenseman Matt Register slashed Colton Beck in the first few minutes and that set the tone for the rest of the night. Carzo came in with a shot to get a chance to get make his goal total six but was quickly denied by Roy. The Reign got their third power play chance of the night after Idaho’s James Livingston was off for hooking. Even after staying 2-for-3 on power plays, the Reign still managed to stay ahead of the game. With just a little over a minute left to go, the Steelheads called for a timeout. They knew they needed to do something different if they wanted to win or at least tie it up quick so they pulled Roy for an extra attacker. The extra person made no difference because Ontario conquered the Steelheads 2-1 as the game ended. Olkinuora deserved the victory of the night with 35 saves overall.
The Ontario Reign have a three day break but they hope to keep their new streak going against the Colorado Eagles in Loveland, Colorado on Wednesday as they continue their road trip.