(photo credit: Standout Imagery)
The Ontario Reign defeated the Colorado Eagles 4-3 after a long fight to the finish and a good effort for a comeback by Colorado. This is just the first meeting between both teams this season and they have two more games against each other to see if Ontario can keep their winning streak going.
After beating Idaho 2-1 in the third game last Saturday, the Reign proved how much they have going for them since the season has started. Ontario’s Tyler Spurgeon‘s return to the lineup has benefited the team in every way possible. He got credit for the power play goal on Thursday and his presence finally being there just helps out them out even more. Defenseman Alex Roach has also been on fire for the last six games. He recorded a career high of three assists on Thursday and is up +3. During Saturday’s game, the Reign dominated during the power plays with two goals on three chances. The first game against Colorado looked to be in Ontario’s favor because their penalty kill percentage was considerably higher than Colorado’s at 93.8 to 80.7.
A slow first period was finally broken with a goal by Ontario defenseman Ralfs Freibergs. He received a pass from fellow defender Nolan Julseth-White that went right between the legs of Eagles goalie Doug Carr at 13:26. Ontario raised their goal count by two when Judd Blackwater was brought down behind the Colorado net but he passed the puck over to Matt Register who blazed the puck past Carr at 15:44. Spurgeon got the secondary assist for that one to add on to his total so far. The Eagles started waking up late into the game and scored. Eagles’ Brock Nixon shot and beat Ontario’s goaltender Jussi Olkinuora at 19:16. The Reign had an early lead over the Eagles going into the second at 2-1.
With a five-on-three man advantage during the second period, the Reign started out with the perfect chance to get some more goals in past Carr. The on fire Spurgeon passed the could have been goal over to Register who slapshotted it but was denied. Ontario defenseman Jeff May swooped in on the rebound and slapped the puck in at 3:21. Colorado fired back with their second goal of the night at 4:00 by defenseman Curtis Gedig and an assist by Trent Daavettila. The Eagles tied the game at 3-3 by Nixon at 10:22 but it did not last for long as Register came in for his second goal of the night at 14:14. The Eagles were trailing by one at 4-3 at the end of the second period.
The third period was the last chance for the Eagles to even try to tie the game and make it go into overtime. The period started out with the puck loose at the Reign’s net and a perfect chance to score but was quickly slapped out of the way. The Eagles started putting on the pressure but Ontario kept strong all the way through and blocked them out. Gedig came around the left with a challenge for a goal but was immediately stopped. Even after more shots fired and a scrum, Olkinuora proved to be too much for them as he managed to keep the score 4-3 for the entire period. Ontario ended the night with six shots on goal and Colorado with nine. Olkinuora took the victory of the night with 27 saves while Carr took the loss with 27.
The Reign is looking to stay on their throne on Friday against the Eagles for their second game out of three.