ONTARIO, Calif. – The Ontario Reign, proud affiliate of the NHL Los Angeles Kings, was defeated by the Stockton Thunder, 3-2, on Wednesday evening at Citizens Business Bank Arena before a crowd of 4,503 fans.
Right wing Geoff Walker made his first appearance with the Reign after being assigned by the Manchester Monarchs (AHL) on Monday. Walker, who was one of three players who had a team high of 48 points last season in Ontario, put the Reign on the board first in the match during a power play at 10:27. Walker jammed the puck over the goal line between the post and Stockton netminder Bryan Pitton’s skate after Pitton managed to turn away attempts from right wing Tony Voce and center Tim Kraus.
Reign goaltender Mike Zacharias held off the Thunder until 12:43 in the second period, when left wing Colton Yellow Horn claimed his first goal of the season and tied the game at one.
The clubs headed into the final period of regulation looking for the go-ahead goal, and Stockton grabbed the lead at 3:32. Right wing James Bates flipped the puck around Zacharias after receiving a feed from defenseman Daryl Marcoux from behind the net to give the Thunder a 2-1 lead.
At 10:50, right wing Jon Rheault punched home the rebound from center Jon Francisco’s shot, recording his seventh goal of the season and the equalizer for the Reign. The score remained tied until only 57 seconds remained on the clock, and center Craig Valette fired off a shot from the point that was deflected up and over Zacharias by defenseman Jordan Bendfeld. Defenseman Bryan Young also claimed an assist on the goal, which ended up being the game winner for Stockton as Ontario was unable to score again. Stockton took the win with a final score of Thunder 3, Reign 2.
To view the box score, click here.
1. STK – Bryan Pitton
2. STK – Jordan Bendfeld
3. ONT – Geoff Walker