SAN ANTONIO, TX – San Antonio was much kinder to the boys from Ontario (California) than Cedar Park was.
The Reign arrived in San Antonio after dropping two games to the Texas Stars and losing two more players to injury. Jonah Imoo was the latest casualty of the Great Kings Goaltending Curse of 2016-17, having had to leave Saturday night’s game mid-way through the third period. Brett Sutter was also injured in the game and was unable to play Sunday afternoon.
The Reign took it in stride.
Saturday night’s game against the Stars was only the second time in the young season that the ‘Reign’ style of hockey was on display. Sunday afternoon, they built on that success.
While not able to completely control the game as they have been known to do, they were still able to stifle the Rampage’s offense & limit their chances against current goalie Jack Flinn. San Antonio opened the scoring in the first period, taking a 1-0 lead, but Ontario took it from there.
They posted two goals in the second to take the lead from the Rampage, as both Kurtis MacDermid and Sam Herr picked up their first goals of the season.
The Rampage would tie the game on their seventh (!!) power play which also happened to be an extended 5-on-3. San Antonio played with fire, however, and gave the most potent power play in the league a couple of chances. Their second man advantage of the period and third of the game broke through to take back the lead with Sean Backman picking up his first goal of the season. The empty net goal (also from Backman) sealed the deal and the Reign left Texas with 3 of 6 possible points.
Impressive: Have we mentioned the best power play in the league? With 11 goals in 6 games and at least one goal per game, it is flying along at 44% success. Those 11 goals have been scored by 7 different players, so it is not just one hot hand driving the numbers.
Not So Much: The Reign’s penalty kill has started to turn a corner to a vast improvement, mostly due to practice. They took seven penalties in Sunday’s game, two of them resulting in 5 on 3 play and three of them coming back to back to where the Reign were shorthanded for 5:40. While the Rampage do draw the most power plays in the league, the Reign need to work on their discipline a bit. Especially because they have a reputation that can cause borderline calls to go against them.
Elsewhere in the Division: We mentioned last time that Tucson has quietly taken over the lead in the Pacific Division. They continued this trend by putting together another rally to come from behind and beat the Stockton Heat. That win brought them to second in the league, just 0.013% behind the Toronto Marlies. The rest of the division had the night off.
Sidebar: Over the weekend, it was announced that Brayden McNabb of the LA Kings was placed on IR. This morning it was announced that Andy Andreoff had to leave last night’s game due to an upper-body injury. Depending on how serious it is, there might be a call-up to cover, providing there is cap space. It looks like the injury curse is starting to spread out from the net and the Kings do not have room under the salary cap to plug holes.