Ontario, CA – Our last few posts have detailed how the Reign had been out played in 4 of their last 5 games, losing all four. Last night, the Texas Stars continued their January California tour after having lost to both Stockton (in overtime) and San Jose (a less than stellar 5-1 loss).
The Stars began the season well, challenging the Reign for dominance of the Pacific Division through October and November. They also currently lead the league with 133 goals scored (the nearest competitor has 114). Unfortunately, they also lead the league in goals against with 141 and a December skid left them clinging to fourth place in the division.
The more defensive oriented Reign were looking to reduce a goals against average that had been creeping upward. Through 2-1/2 periods, they succeeded. Peter Budaj was solid against a very talented Stars offense. A miscue by Stars goaltender, John Muse, left a wide open net for Justin Auger to put the Reign up 1-0 mid way through the second. Seven minutes into the third, Auger scored again, giving the Reign a 2-0 lead.
The Stars were not done, however, and brought themselves within one on a power play goal by Brett Ritchie. 2 and a half minutes later, Jason Dickinson tied the game at 2.
The score would hold for the rest of the period despite late pushes by both teams and the game required overtime. Justin Auger continued his brilliant night with a pass to set up Kevin Gravel for the game winner 1:37 into overtime.
Impressive: Not appearing on the score sheet but appearing everywhere on the ice was Jordan Samuels-Thomas. He seemed to be a half step ahead of the rest of the Reign squad and often drove the play. Also impressive was Justin Auger’s 3 point night. He figured into every Reign score and had a few more chances that didn’t go in.
Not So Much: The Reign’s penalty kill let in another goal, going 2 for 3 on the night.
Elsewhere in the Division: The rest of the division was inactive last night. We will have a full Pacific Division somewhat weekly round up later this week.