ONTARIO, Calif. – The Ontario Reign, proud affiliate of the NHL Los Angeles Kings, defeated the Alaska Aces, 5-2, on Saturday evening at Citizens Business Bank Arena. The Reign saw their biggest crowd of the season with 8,298 in the stands.
It was Alaska who drew first blood in the second match between the clubs in two nights. Right wing Matt Stefanishion opened scoring at 5:26 with a wrist shot that netted him his fourteenth goal of the season and a 1-0 lead for the Aces.
Less than one minute later, defenseman T.J. Fast received a feed from forward Eric Boguniecki at the top of the right face-off circle and fired off a one-timer that Ontario goaltender Curtis Darling couldn’t get in front of. Defenseman B.J. Crum also picked up an assist on the play and the Aces took a 2-0 lead over the Reign.
Reign forward Michael Pelech answered back with two goals in 16 seconds. Pelech’s first goal at 17:07 was a tip-in of defenseman Mike Egener’s bid. His second goal of the game crossed the goal line after he redirected a slap shot from defenseman Andrew Martens during a power play, and tied the game at two.
After a scoreless second period, right wing Sean O’Connor netted the go-ahead goal for his club early in the final period. O’Connor rifled off a shot from the slot that sailed past Aces netminder Frank Doyle. Center Jon Francisco, whose appearance in the match marked his 250th professional game, and right wing Tony Voce registered the assists.
Alaska pulled Doyle from his crease for the extra skater, but their man advantage backfired when Reign defenseman Shawn Germain and center Tim Kraus each threw the puck into the empty net to give Ontario two more goals and the win with a final score of Reign 5, Aces 2.
Three stars: 1. ONT – Michael Pelech 2. ONT – Sean O’Connor 3. AK – T.J. Fast