ONTARIO, CA – If there is one thing you don’t want to see from a team headed to the playoffs, it’s inconsistency. One can’t be sure which team will show up. Will they be the team that dominates the game or will it be the team that seems uninterested until the last half of the third period?
The Reign put both teams on display this past weekend. In the first game against Stockton Friday night, they came out firing and never let the Heat have any momentum. The Heat managed to keep pace through the first period, but the Reign took over in the second, scoring an early goal to go up 2-1. They never let up after that and took the game 4-2.
On Saturday night, the Reign the fans fear was back. A slow start turned into a lackluster performance featuring a 5-on-3 power play that was booed off the ice. Again. The shot totals show the Reign outshooting the Heat, but they were one and done chances. Ontario could not maintain any pressure on Stockton and eventually lost the game 4-2.
Impressive: Jonny Brodzinki (known to Reign fans as JonnyB) had a goal in each game and has become noticeably better since the AHL All-Star break. Justin Auger also continued his hot streak with a goal on Friday night.
Not So Much: Since losing their captain to injury, the Reign’s power play has been terrible. The 5-on-3 has been even worse. LoVerde was the point man on what was already a struggling man advantage and his loss seems to have torn it apart. The hope is that he will return in time for the playoffs and bring stability to the special teams.
The Playoff Picture: The Reign couldn’t punch their own ticket to the playoffs, but their rivals down south gave them a hand by defeating San Jose. San Diego and Texas are tied in winning percentage for second place, but the Stars hold the tie breaker. The loss to the Gulls dropped San Jose back out of a playoff spot, allowing Charlotte to slide past. The Condors still have a chance, but it is a slim one that depends on them winning every game to the end of the season.