ONTARIO, CA – Back in Ontario, tied in the series 1-1, the Reign were happy to be on home ice. The crowd was just as happy to be watching playoff hockey. The Reign and Barracuda took to the ice in front of a crowd some 8,174-strong, filled with season ticket holders, Kings fans not satisfied with their season ending so soon and a couple of Barracuda fans.
Ontario dominated the game from start to finish. They out shot the Barracuda 14-4 in the first, 16-4 in the second and 13-9 in the third for a total of 43-17. The chances they did allow the Barracuda were few and far between and rarely dangerous.
Seven minutes into the first period, the Reign took their first lead. Michael Mersch brought the puck up the ice, dancing around a couple of defenders before firing it at the net. A charging Adrian Kempe got there just in time to deflect it past Barracuda goalie Aaron Dell. Ontario would never look back.
An ill-advised major boarding penalty by Trevor Parkes put the Reign on the power play just one minute into the second. Nic Dowd capitalized with a shot from the top of the slot that blew past Dell to make it 2-0 Reign.
The power play was done for the night but the Reign were not.
Mid-way through the third period, Kempe got a 2 on 1 breakaway with Jonny Brodzinsky. He kept the puck and twitched a shot that also bounced past Dell. With Ontario up 3-0 and the Barracuda not managing to do much about it, Dell’s night was over. Troy Groesnick took over to try and spark the Barracuda’s offense. They responded with a goal two minutes later, but that was all they could manage.
The loss puts San Jose on the verge of elimination.
Elsewhere in the Playoffs: San Diego was also happy to be back on home ice, laying a 6-1 beat down on the Texas Stars. The Stars are also now looking into the abyss of elimination, down 2-1 in their series.
Toronto’s two goals in the third gave them the three game sweep over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Albany eliminated the Utica Comets with a 6-3 win. They now advance to face the Toronto Marlies in the second round.
The Hershey Bears and Portland Pirates needed three overtime sessions to determine their game, with Portland ultimately winning 2-1. The win put them up 2-1 in their series which will continue Saturday night.