ONTARIO, Calif. – The Ontario Reign, proud affiliate of the NHL Los Angeles Kings, fell to the Alaska Aces, 6-3, on Wednesday evening before a crowd of 7,268 fans at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
Reign right wing Geoff Walker opened scoring with a power play goal at 7:31. Aces netminder Scott Reid saved the first two Reign shots on goal, but didn’t cover the loose puck. Reid was out of position, so Alaska center Curtis Fraser stepped in to defend the net, but Walker fired off a shot that went between Fraser’s legs and into the back of the net. Forward Michael Pelech and defenseman Mike Egener registered the assists.
Defenseman David Walker made it 2-0 Reign at 11:15. Center Tim Kraus won the draw in the right circle and chipped the puck behind him to defenseman Dan Knapp. Knapp sent a pass to Walker, who fired off a one-timer from the slot that went straight into the back corner of the net behind Reid.
Alaska answered back and tied the game with two consecutive goals to close out the first period. Center Curtis Fraser sniped the top left corner of the net with a shot from the right circle at 14:25 off an assist from defenseman Nick Tuzzolino. Defenseman Tyson Marsh scored the equalizer on a power play at 18:16 when he threaded the space between Darling’s glove side and the post. Judd Blackwater registered his eighth point against the Reign this season with the assist.
After a scoreless second period, Alaska potted three unanswered goals, with the first coming off of forward Jason Ryznar’s stick at 9:05, when Ryznar deflected a pass from forward Garry Nunn over Darling’s shoulder. Nunn recorded his first professional point with the assist on the play. Less than three minutes later, Nunn netted his first professional goal when he got out ahead of the Reign defense on a breakaway and tossed a shot past Darling. His unassisted goal at 12:01 made it 4-2 Aces.
Curtis Fraser scored his second goal of the night at 12:01. The puck was deflected down to the opposite end of the ice and Curtis Darling came out of his crease to play the puck by the boards. Darling’s pass was intercepted by Fraser, who launched a shot into the empty net.
Thirty-two seconds later, Sean O’Connor picked up a loose puck in the crease right in front of Scott Reid’s pads and put a shot up into the net. Geoff Walker and defenseman Andrew Martens recorded the assists on the power play goal, which brought the Reign within two goals of the Aces.
The Reign pulled Curtis Darling for an extra skater, but forward Nick Mazzolini found the empty net and extended the Aces’ lead to three goals with less than two minutes remaining in regulation. Alaska took the win with a final score of Aces 6, Reign 3.
Three stars: 1. AK – Curtis Fraser 2. AK – Garry Nunn 3. ONT – Geoff Walker