Losing three games in a row just wasn’t an option for the Reign. They knew they were going to have to take some different approaches if they wanted to beat Utah in the fifth meeting between both teams so far this season. Newcomer Tyler Scofield has been off to a hot start with another point on Thursday after he assisted Maxim Kitsyn on the third period power-play goal. Utah’s weakness in penalty kills was also the key for Ontario being able to take advantage and get a mile long head start in the game.
The Reign had the first period in their grabs completely. After a penalty to Channing Boe, Ontario took the opportunity to use the power-play to get the puck into the offensive zone. Defenseman Matt Register slap shotted a goal right past Grizzlies goaltender Igor Bobkov at 15:52. The rest of the period remained scoreless for both teams to add on the pressure for the rest of the game.
Ontario extended their lead in the second period and things were starting to look good for a hopeful shutout by the end of the game. The Grizzlies failed a clearing chance so Reigns’ Nolan Julseth-White got the puck and fired a wrist shot that beat Bobkov at 2:07. What made up for the lack of goals from both teams was made up in penalties. Later into the period, Norm Ezekiel was called for interference at 17:47 then the Reign was whistled again for having too many men on the ice at 18:04. That led to a 5-3 penalty kill situation for Ontario. Reign goaltender Jussi Olkinuora took the pucks for the team and managed to not allow any past him during the Grizzlies’ power-play. The second period ended with a score of 2-0.
The Grizzlies finally got themselves on the scoring board and shut down the chance of a shutout thanks to Mathieu Aubin. He snapped the puck from the left wall and beat Olkinuora at 6:15 to give Utah a last minute chance at redemption but Ontario kept them back for the rest of the time. The Reign had the period under control though when it finally ended with a winning final score of 2-1. Olkinuora took the victory with 28 saves while Bobkov had 17.
The Ontario Reign have a break until next Wednesday when they go up against the Idaho Steelheads once again.