ONTARIO, Calif. – The Ontario Reign, proud affiliate of the NHL Los Angeles Kings, defeated the Idaho Steelheads in overtime, 5-4, on Saturday evening at Citizens Business Bank Arena. The Reign’s “Pink at the Rink” Night saw the highest attendance of the season with 8,690 fans in the stands.
Center Jon Francisco put the Reign on the board first in the second consecutive match between the clubs. Steelhead goaltender Rejean Beauchemin saved right wing Todd Jackson’s shot, but couldn’t hold on to the puck. Francisco picked up the rebound and fired the puck into the empty left side of the net. Defenseman Chad Starling picked up his seventh point of the season with the assist while Jackson notched his fourth.
Center Tim Kraus sent a wrister to the front of the net, where it was redirected past Beauchemin on his glove side by Robert Pearce at 2:38 in the second frame. Pearce’s goal gave Ontario a two-goal lead, but Idaho center Tyler Spurgeon answered back less than a minute later to give the Steelheads their first goal of the night.
Spurgeon netted the equalizer goal and his second of the game on a power play at 8:51. Reign netminder Curtis Darling was able to save the Steelheads’ first shot, but couldn’t slide over to get in front of the shot from Spurgeon.
Ontario left wing Peter Lenes put the Reign up 3-2 at 15:10. Lenes received a wraparound pass from right wing Sean O’Connor and chipped the puck into empty net. The Reign’s lead lasted less than two minutes. Tyler Spurgeon recorded a hat trick and the equalizer for the Steelheads at 16:38 with his redirect of forward Mark McCutcheon’s bid.
Ashton Rome scored the go-ahead goal for Idaho, giving the Steelheads a 4-3 lead only 25 seconds later. Rejean Beauchemin held off the Reign until less than five minutes remained on the clock in regulation. During a power play, Sean O’Connor fired off a sharp angle shot that hit Beauchemin’s pads and bounced back out to his stick. O’Connor’s wraparound backhand goal tied up the game at four. Neither club netted another point before the clock hit zero, so the teams headed into a five minute four-on-four overtime session.
Greg Hogeboom capitalized on an Ontario man advantage 3:40 into the overtime session and claimed the game-winning goal for his club with a wrist shot from the left circle. Ontario took the two points with a final score of Reign 5, Steelheads 4 (OT).
Three stars: 1. IDH – Tyler Spurgeon 2. ONT – Curtis Darling 3. ONT – Sean O’Connor