ONTARIO, CA- A Tale of Two Games.
It’s a bit cliche, but it fits Ontario’s weekend like a glove.
Back home after spending most of January on the road, the Reign hosted the Tucson Roadrunners Friday night, except the entire team seemed uninterested in the game. The Roadrunners had their typical slow start, allowing the Reign to control the first half of the first period and surrendering some good looking chances. The Reign did not take advantage, however, and the Roadrunners began to swing momentum in their favor. A goal from Mario Kempe at 9:10 sent Ontario into its shell and the team sat back to watch the Roadrunners play. Another goal from Kempe late in the period put Tucson up 2-0.
Ontario would start the second period with a bit more fire and even picked up a goal from Brett Sutter just one minute into the period. That was all they could manage, however, and two more Roadrunner goals in the third period sealed the deal.
Saturday was pink in the rink night, complete with pink ice and special jerseys. The Iowa Wild were in town on their California road trip to play their second and last game against the Reign. The Wild won their first meeting 3-0 back in October.
Ontario came out strong again but was rewarded this time with two early goals. Matt Moulson got them on the board first, followed two minutes later by Michael Mersch’s first goal of the night. 49 seconds after Mersch’s goal, Luke Kunin got the Wild on the board, cutting the Reign’s lead in half.
The teams were somewhat quiet after that until 6 minutes into the second. It began with Mersch’s second goal of the night at 6:33 and progressed to multiple penalties, a fight, a 4 on 3 power play, Oscar Fantenberg’s first goal with the Reign (a power play goal) and a deflection goal by Philippe Maillet on a shot from Matt Roy. The Reign took control of the game on the strength of their power play and proceeded to outplay the Wild for the rest of the game. The third period saw more penalties and a few more skirmishes, but the scoring was over. Ontario sent Iowa packing with a 5-1 loss.
The win helped pull Ontario back into fourth place, just 0.05% above the San Antonio Rampage and only 0.03% behind the Texas Stars.