ONTARIO, Calif. – The Ontario Reign, proud affiliate of the NHL Los Angeles Kings, fell to the Las Vegas Wranglers, 4-3, in the shootout before a crowd of 5,157 fans at Citizens Business Bank Arena on Sunday evening. The match closed out a three-game, back-to-back series with the Wranglers, who reclaimed third place in the Pacific Division with the win.
The Wranglers claimed the first goal of the night only nine seconds after the first face-off at center ice. Las Vegas left wing Ned Lukacevic fired off a shot at Reign netminder Curtis Darling that hit his right pad and remained in the crease. Left wing Mick Lawrence streaked towards the net with Reign defenseman Chad Starling on his tail and chipped the loose puck over the goal line. Center Adam Miller also netted an assist on his club’s first goal.
Right wing Sean O’Connor recorded the equalizer for the Reign at 18:06 when he redirected defenseman David Walker’s slap shot from the point past Wranglers goaltender Michael Ouzas on his stick side. Forward Greg Hogeboom also picked up an assist on the power play goal.
Reign center Tim Kraus added another goal to the board for his club midway through the second period with a wrister that sailed under Ouzas’ glove. Greg Hogeboom claimed his second assist of the game on the goal. At 15:44, Chris Neiszner scored his tenth goal of the season and the equalizer for the Wranglers off assists from defensemen Jason Krischuk and Craig Switzer.
While the Reign was attempting to clear the zone, center Adam Miller intercepted a pass and rifled off a shot that hit the inside of the goal post and bounced into the back of the net at 19:39. Miller’s unassisted goal marked his second point of the game, and closed out the second period with the Wranglers leading the Reign, 3-2.
Michael Ouzas left the Las Vegas net with an injury after playing just over 48 minutes for his club, and the Wranglers sent in Joel Gistedt to finish out the game.
Greg Hogeboom’s pass to right wing Jon Rheault hit a few sticks before the puck hit its mark, but Rheault managed to settle the bouncing puck and smash it past Gistedt, tying the game at three goals with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation. Hogeboom’s assist marked his third of the game, while Tim Kraus added an assist to his second period goal.
The score remained 3-3 for the remainder of regulation and a five-minute four-on-four overtime session. For the third consecutive night, the game-winner was decided in the shootout. Ned Lukacevic was the only shooter from both clubs to put the puck in the net, and his goal earned two points and the win for Las Vegas with a final score of Wranglers 4, Reign 3 (SO).
Shootout results: 1. ONT - Sean O’Connor: NO GOAL 2. LV - Adam Miller: NO GOAL 3. ONT - Jon Rheault: NO GOAL 4. LV - Craig Switzer: NO GOAL 5. ONT - Tony Voce: NO GOAL 6. LV - Mick Lawrence: NO GOAL 7. ONT - Greg Hogeboom: NO GOAL 8. LV - Ned Lukacevic: GOAL 9. ONT - Chad Starling: NO GOAL
Three stars: 1. LV – Ned Lukacevic 2. ONT – Greg Hogeboom 3. LV – Adam Miller