SAN JOSE, CA – Immediately following Ontario’s comeback win against the Barracuda, the teams boarded buses for the 6 hour trek up north to San Jose. It is a fact of lower league life here in California. The teams are in the same state, but the state is not small. It is what they signed on for and expect. In a home-and-home series, no one carries the advantage.
The Reign arrived in San Jose fresh off of a last minute comeback to win in overtime. They got Kurtis MacDermid back after his lengthy 12-game suspension for a vicious hit to Matt Bailey of the San Diego Gulls (Bailey did leave the ice under his own power, not on a stretcher as the San Jose announcers states, but has not played since). The Barracuda were looking to stop a three-game losing streak and return to their winning ways.
It was MacDermid who issued the opening statement, firing the puck past a screened Groesnick from the blueline at 12:31 in the first. San Jose had an answer four minutes later in the form of Trevor Parkes, again (he seems to have the Reign’s number). The 1-1 tie only lasted 2 and a half minutes as Sean Backman netted his tenth of the season to put the Reign up 2-1. The teams closed the first period with the Barracuda out shooting the reign 11-8, but the Reign up 2-1.
That score would stand through the rest of the game as the Reign wrapped up and shut down the Barracuda. San Jose could only muster 2 shots in the entire third period despite trying to push for the tying goal. Troy Groesnick managed to survive his own onslaught as the Reign fired 10 shots at the Barracuda net in the third, but the damage was done.
Impressive: Kurtis MacDermid was fired up & ready to play again, picking up his third goal of the season & providing a strong physical presence on the blue line. Nic Dowd continued his multiple point per game streak by assisting on both of the Reign goals.
Not So Much: MacDermid has apparently not learned a thing from his suspension. In the second period he took two penalties (one for elbowing, one following a hit to the head that was called as interference) just four minutes apart. It almost seems as if he had a growth spurt and does not realize where his hits land now. That is an optimistic view, but the alternative is that he doesn’t care & is flat out dangerous. We hope he can figure it out before he seriously injures another player.
Elsewhere in the Division: San Antonio continued their domination of the Condors with a 5-2 win. Texas snapped the Gulls winning streak with a 5-2 win of their own. Manitoba and Stockton needed overtime again to determine their winner. The Heat took the game 3-2 this time, propelling them to the .500 mark, tied with Bakersfield and San Antonio. Ontario took the lead in the Western Conference by 0.006 percentage points over the IceHogs of the Central Division.