ONTARIO, CA – After a dismal start to the season in October, the Ontario Reign put together an impressive November and seemed to have turned thing around. December, however, has turned into a roller coaster ride both from game to game and in the standings. The Reign started the month on a decently long road trip where they would meet up with the leaders in the division.
Games 1&2: The trip started in Tucson with a win that the Reign did not earn. Two days later, the Roadrunners had their starting goaltender back from the Coyotes when they faced the Reign. The game had the same tone, with the Roadrunners vastly outplaying the Reign, but this time with a solid netminder to anchor them. Tucson jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first period, outshooting the Reign 12-5. Ontario put together a better second period, managing to tie the game at 2. A Roadrunner goal 30 seconds into the third period seemed to break the Reign’s spirit as the Roadrunners skated all over them, eventually winning 5-2.
Game 3: The next weekend, the Reign journeyed out to Cedar Park to start their Texas tour. Once again, Ontario came out flat and this time the Stars were skating circles around them. The Stars were rewarded with a goal 2:38 into the game on a 5 on 3 power play. Jack Campbell held the Stars to the one score for two and a half periods. During that time, Michael Mersch tied the game and Austin Wagner gave the Reign the lead. That lead lasted for six minutes before another power play goal, this one from Jason Dickinson tied the game for the Stars. Under a minute later, Samuel Laberge put the stars up 3-2. Again, the Reign had no answer and seemed to fade back, never really challenging for the tying goal. An empty net goal made the final score 4-2.
Game 4: The next night in San Antonio, an early goal from Mike Amadio of the Reign was the limit of Ontario’s offense for two periods. The Rampage couldn’t solve Cal Peterson, however, until midway through the second, then once again just before the end of the period. Another early goal, again from Amadio in the third tied the game for Ontario and Peterson kept them that way into overtime. 35 seconds into overtime, it was Kevin Gravel who got the early goal to get the Reign a win.
Game 5: Back to Cedar Park, the Reign once again gave the Stars an early 5 on 3 and once again surrendered a goal. After more penalty trouble, the Reign seemed to right their ship and began to press the Stars, tying the game and coming close to takin the lead many times. The Reign began taking penalties again after a good start to the second, which eventually gave the Stars the lead with a power play goal. In a turn of attitude, the Reign fought back, tying the game in the latter stages of the second period. Gravel scored the fourth power play goal of the game in the third, giving the Reign the lead. An empty-net goal from Sam Herr made it a 4-2 win for Ontario.
The ending result of all of this? The Ontario Reign are still in fifth place, with San Antonio still clinging to fourth.