(photo credit Dinur Blum)
It was definitely a rough weekend before Christmas for the Ontario Reign. Their 3-game weekend series against the Colorado Eagles gave them one win overall where they completely dominated but it was sandwiched between two frustrating losses, the first game a loss in overtime and the final game in the series a 5-2 loss.
Dec. 19 loss
Losing to the Eagles in overtime was the last way that the Reign wanted to start out their game series. Both teams went scoreless for the entire first period but quickly perked up for the rest of the game for a battle to the finish.
Colorado’s Brett Kulak was the first one to score but Reign’s Judd Blackwater went right after him with his opening goal for Ontario at 8:45 of the second. The game went back and forth and both teams weren’t going to make earning the win easy.
With the game ending in regulation 3-3 thanks to Rocco Carzo‘s goal during the third, it was time to get down to business. The Reign played a gritty night but the Eagles’ Mark Nemec came through and scored the game winner for the night at 2:21 in the overtime period.
Dec. 20 win
The Reign made a complete turnaround just a day later with a 6-1 win. They got an early start on the score board thanks to Matt White‘s backhanded shot at 1:03. Just half a minute later, Alex Roach got his chance to score and kept the lead going with assists from Dennis Brown and Gasper Kopitar.
At 7:41, Ontario newcomer Tyler Scofield took a turnover from the Eagles to his advantage and scored to keep the early-goals habit going. The second period was just as great as the first with two more goals and what seemed to be a coming shutout until Colorado’s Vitalijs Pavlovs scored at 15:40.
Scofield racked up more points for the night with the game winner during the second at 18:54. The Eagles tried changing goal tenders for the third period but the night was already long gone for them with only one goal for the entire time.
Dec. 21 loss
After winning by a mile just the day before, the Reign came in confident that they would seal the weekend deal with another W to their record. Colorado proved otherwise when they opened up the scoring board within five minutes of the game starting and it didn’t stop there.
Maxim Kitsyn was able to get a point for Ontario during the first period but the Eagles completely blocked Ontario out during the second and increasing their lead by two more goals by Derek Rodwell and Collin Bowman. With Colorado getting two power-play goals in one night, things were getting ugly for the Reign but they weren’t finished yet.
Kopitar fired a shot past Eagles goaltender Clarke Saunders at 11:22 of the third but that would be the last goal of the night for the Reign and a loss of 5-2. Ontario’s Jussi Olkinuora took the defeat with 25 saves.
A little Christmas break
After inconsistent nights like this past weekend, maybe it’ll be good that the Ontario Reign has the holiday week off the regain momentum for the next round of games. They should be back up and ready to take on the Idaho Steelheads for back-to-back weekend games starting Dec. 26.