ONTARIO, Calif. – The Ontario Reign, proud affiliate of the NHL Los Angeles Kings, defeated the Idaho Steelheads, 4-1, on Friday evening before 5,034 fans at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
Idaho left wings Michael Neal and Adam Huxley gave the Steelheads the first goal of the game and the lead at 2:09 in the opening period. Huxley’s shot from a sharp angle at the right side of the net was saved, but the rebound went right out to Neal at the top of the crease, who chipped it past Reign netminder Curtis Darling.
Midway through the second period, Reign defenseman Andrew Martens grabbed the puck just before it hit the blue line and held it in the zone before snapping a pass to forward Greg Hogeboom. Hogeboom fired off a slap shot that made it through traffic in front of the crease and crossed the goal line behind Idaho goaltender Rejean Beauchemin at 11:14. Center Tim Kraus also picked up an assist on the play.
Less than two minutes later, right wing Tony Voce sent the puck right to the tape of forward Michael Pelech’s stick. Pelech wristed the puck into the open side of the net to give the Reign a 2-1 lead over the Steelheads.
Peter Lenes extended his club’s lead to two goals on a power play at 13:15 in the final period. Lenes found a gap between Beauchemin’s right pad and the post and threw the puck into the net. Center Jon Francisco notched the assist.
Idaho pulled Beauchemin from the crease in an attempt to catch up to Ontario, but Jon Francisco scored on the empty net, making it 4-1 Reign with 20 seconds left in regulation. Ontario took the two points and the win with a final score of Reign 4, Steelheads 1.
Three stars: 1. ONT – Andrew Martens 2. ONT – Curtis Darling 3. ONT – Jon Francisco