(photo credit: Dinur Blum)
The Ontario Reign made a comeback and conquered the Colorado Eagles 5-3 at Citizens Business Bank Arena on Friday night. Colorado proved to be a tough contender early in the game but the Reign fought to the end with three power-play goals to put them back at the top.
Colorado opened up the score board early into the game when Brock Nixon drove the puck to the right side of the net, forcing it under Reign goal tender Jussi Olkinuora at 3:01 of the first. The Reign made a quick comeback when big boy defenseman Vincent Arseneau shot the puck past Eagles goal tender Doug Carr from the offensive zone. Tristan King and Matt Register received the assists for the first goal of the night for Ontario.
During the second period, the Reign took advantage of two consecutive power-play chances and pulled ahead. Teigan Zahn was called for holding at 0:14 so Judd Blackwater was able to shoot, score and give Ontario their first lead of the night. Just minutes later, their lead increased after Derek Couture threw one in the net at 3:06. Blackwater was on fire on Friday by making the score 4-1 after a defensive breakdown at 16:39.
The rest of the game showed how much the Reign had woken up after their last few losses. The Eagles were still trying to make their way to the top with a power-play goal from Nathan Moon during the second and one more from Collin Bowman. Reign’s Register kept the team leading to the end with the game winning slap shot goal during the third period at 10:08.
That kind of game play made up for all of the inconsistencies the Reign has been having but who knew they would do the exact same thing, right at the next day. Saturday’s game was one for the books as the Reign dominated the Eagles once again with a final score of 5-3.
Ontario’s Matt White got started with the Reign leading the score after teaming up with Register and got it past Clarke Saunders at 17:01 of the first period. After the game was paused for the Teddy Bear Toss for Toys for Tots, White racked up another goal with just seconds left in the period after he smacked his own rebound into the net with a secondary assist by Geoff Walker.
Colorado got their heads in the game during the second period but it was already too late for them from there. Reign’s Couture redirected a shot by Alex Roach at just 0:36 into the period to have Ontario up to 3-0. The almost shutout didn’t last for long as Eagles’ Trent Daavettila got a shot past Olkinuora at 1:05.
The third period was when everything came to a head for both teams. Ontario had a total of two more goals from Walker and left winger Maxim Kitsyn. The Eagles scored two more shots almost one right after the other by Brett Kulak and Vitalijs Pavlovs but it just wasn’t enough to bring the Reign down by the end of regulation. Olkinuora took the win with 38 saves Saturday and Saunders took the loss with 18.
The Ontario Reign will have a short break before going up against the Bakersfield Condors on Dec. 10.