WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – The Ontario Reign (20-7-1-1), defending Pacific Division Champions and proud affiliate of the NHL’s 2012 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings, recovered from a two goals down to force overtime, but fell 4-3 to the Utah Grizzlies (12-11-1-3) in a shootout at Maverik Center before a crowd of 4,131 Friday night. It was the Reign's first shootout loss this season.
The Reign took advantage of an early power-play to jump out to a 1-0 lead just 1:17 into play. Justin Pender and Mario Lamoureux worked the puck to C.J. Stretch at the point where he fired a wrist shot through traffic and past Andrew Engelage. Utah tied the game 1-1 with a power-play goal at 17:22 by Los Angeles Kings forward Trevor Lewis. The Salt Lake City native was playing in his first game after signing with Utah on Thursday.
The Reign fell behind 2-1 at 5:17 of the second frame on a goal by Brad Mills. Lewis again played a part as it was his shot that set up the rebound which Mills lifted over JF Berube’s pad. Mills went short side on Berube with a backhander at 10:44 to put the Grizzlies up 3-1 as time expired on Jason Beeman’s penalty. Utah had a chance to pad its lead, but Berube came out of his net to stonewall Lewis as he tried to make his way between a pair of Reign defenders. Ontario inched closer when Chris Cloud slapped Brock Sheahan’s pass from the half boards into the net with only 14 ticks left in the period. The Reign couldn't convert a last-second opportunity and went to the locker room down 3-2.
Dan DaSilva tied the game 3-3 and extended his point streak to nine games with a power-play goal at 10:17 of the third period. The Reign winger used the shaft of his stick to redirect Colton Yellow Horn’s waist-high shot behind Engelage.
Berube made five saves in overtime including a stop on Colby Armstrong’s 2-on-0 chance to force a shootout.
Bryan Cameron scored the first shootout goal in the fourth round to give the Grizzlies the advantage, but Beeman matched him to keep the Reign alive. However, Adam Estoclet beat Berube in the fifth round to send Utah to the 4-3 win.
Berube’s four-game win streak was snapped, but he extended his unbeaten streak to seven games with 35 saves on 38 shots. Engelage stopped 38 of 41 shots to record the win in his first game back after being injured in a collision on Nov. 10.
1. UTA – Trevor Lewis
2. UTA – Brad Mills
3. UTA – Andrew Engelage
The Reign will play Utah again for game two Saturday, Dec. 29. The Reign will then head to Sin City to face the Wranglers on Jan. 1 and 2. On Friday, Jan. 4 the Reign return to Citizens Business Bank Arena to host the Grizzlies. The puck will drop at 7:00 p.m. on Friday.
Saturday, Jan. 5 is a Jordan Nolan Bobblehead night! The first 3,000 fans in attendance will receive a Jordan Nolan Reign bobblehead compliments of Unleash Solar. The Reign will face off against Western Conference rivals, the Alaska Aces, at 6:00 p.m. and the general admission doors will open at 5:00 p.m. so be sure to arrive early to get this exclusive bobblehead of former Reign forward and 2012 Stanley Cup Champion Jordan Nolan!
On Sunday, Jan. 6 the Aces return to Citizens Business Bank Arena to play the second of two games against the Reign for a 3:00 p.m. start. Stop by Boston's after the game for a Post-Game Player Party. Be sure to bring your ticket stub and receive 15% off your bill (excluding alcohol).