The Sin Bin’s Kelly Cup Playoff Coverage is presented by Kalwei Law Firm
For the first time in their history, also their last year in the ECHL, the Ontario Reign will play for a conference championship.
The scoring got started just over 3 minutes into the first period, when Derek Couture fired a shot past Grizzlies goalie Eric Levine to give the Reign a 1-0 lead. The goal was Couture’s first of the Kelly Cup Playoffs and the first of three powerplay goals on the night for Ontario.
“We wanted to keep it simple and go get that next goal,”Reign Defenseman Matt Register said. “We played pretty sound there and didn’t let them get back in the hockey game.”
Register scored that next goal, on a power play, with 3:57 left in the second period to give Ontario a 2-0 lead. The two-goal lead, oftentimes dangerous, proved to be insurmountable for the Grizzlies.
Alex Roach fired in an empty net goal with just over a minute left to give the Reign a 3-0 lead. Then, emotions boiled over. Michael Pelech threw a punch at Reign goalie Jussi Olkinuora with 28 seconds left, which led to a melee and 30 PIMs.
The scoring was capped off when Maxim Kitsyn scored on the power play to give Ontario a 4-0 win.
“It definitely makes a lot of guys happy in that locker room, coming out with a series win like that,” Register said. “We came out with some bumps and bruises, but that made it all worthwhile.”
Ontario will now play the winner of the Rapid City/Allen series, a series the Americans lead 3-1 with game 5 this afternoon in South Dakota.
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