ONTARIO, CA – After Wednesday night’s loss to the Rockford IceHogs, fans arrived to Friday night’s match against the Tucson Roadrunners with only a small hope for victory. The Ontario Reign had yet to beat the Roadrunners at home and had only looked like they could keep up once.
A goal just 1:24 into the game from Paul LaDue gave the fans some hope. The Roadrunners corrected course as usual and pushed back. They were rewarded with their standard power play goal from Tye McGinn mid-way through the period. Another goal, this time from Nick Merkley, put Tucson up 2-1.
Rather than fading back in the second, however, the Reign exploded for four goals in the second. Matt Moulson started the goal parade by dancing around the Tucson defense and slipping the puck past Hunter Miska after receiving a pass from Jonny Brodzinski. Mike Amadio put the Reign up 3-2 just two and a half minutes later and Miska’s night was over. The Reign were not done, however, and a cannon from the point by Stepan Falkovsky welcomed Hill to the game at 11:27. JonnyB added a goal to his two assists five minutes later and the Reign closed the second period up 5-2.
Tucson began a comeback bid just two minutes into the third period, with yet another power play goal. This one came from Mario Kempe off of a brilliant pass from Jens Looke. Jack Campbell held the Raodrunners off until the Reign got trapped running around in their own zone. Good puck movement from the Roadrunners opened up an opportunity and Andrew Campbell brought Tucson within one goal. The Reign responded two minutes later when Michael Mersch drew three defenders to him, leaving Philippe Maillet alone in front of Hill. Mersch slipped him the puck and after a few moves to fake out Hill, Maillet gave the Reign a 6-4 lead that lasted for the rest of the game.
The Good: The dynamic duo of Amadio and Moulson have found a friend in Brodzinski. Any two of the three together presents a danger and the entire line is a potent weapon that the Reign were lacking to start the season.
The Bad: The offensive output of the second period was nearly negated by a sloppy third period. The Reign were guilty of sitting back and letting the Roadrunners chip away at their lead.
The Ugly: The penalty kill has been terrible. The game against the Icehogs on Wednesday was the first game in a while that the Reign had not surrendered a power play goal. Friday night, they gave up two and didn’t look good doing it. It is a weakness that the Reign need to address soon.