ONTARIO, Calif. – The Ontario Reign, proud affiliate of the NHL Los Angeles Kings, defeated the Stockton Thunder, 5-3, on Saturday evening. The Reign, who leads the ECHL in highest average attendance, saw 8,497 in the stands at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
The Reign was first on the board for the second consecutive night against the Thunder. Forward Michael Pelech scored the opening goal exactly two minutes after the first face-off, when he deflected a pass from right wing Todd Jackson over the goal line behind Thunder goalie Andrew Perugini. Defenseman Andrew Martens also recorded an assist on the play.
Right wing J.F. Caudron answered back for the Thunder less than two minutes later. After Reign goaltender Curtis Darling was able to turn away two shots on net, Caudron managed to get one through traffic to tie the game, 1-1.
Sean O’Connor marked his sixth goal of the season and the go-ahead goal for Ontario when he redirected defenseman Shawn Germain’s rocket from just inside the blue line behind Perugini, who was out at the top of his crease, and into the net. Tony Voce extended the Reign’s lead to two goals when he chipped a loose puck into the net at 14:46 off an assist from Andrew Martens.
Late in the first period, Chris D’Alvise registered his fourth goal in two games against the Reign with a power play goal that brought the Thunder within one point of Ontario. Matt Robinson nabbed the assist.
Reign captain Jon Francisco capitalized on a man-advantage at 9:34 in the second and put the Reign up by two with his power play goal, but Thunder defenseman Anthony Aiello countered back with a goal for his club at 13:30.
Tony Voce scored his second goal of the game just over a minute later. Andrew Martens fired off a shot that didn’t make it through to the goal line, but Voce picked up the loose puck and threw it into the top back corner of the net. Martens marked his third assist of the game on the power play goal, and Todd Jackson, who appeared in the lineup for the first time after a long stint on the IR, recorded his second.
Although the officials doled out 16 penalty minutes in the final period, neither club scored any goals, and Ontario took the win with a final score of Reign 5, Thunder 3.
Three stars: 1. ONT – Tony Voce 2. ONT – Jon Francisco 3. ONT – Todd Jackson