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Ontario Wins First Ever Playoff Game

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
ONTARIO, Calif. – The Ontario Reign, proud affiliate of the NHL Los Angeles Kings and AHL Manchester Monarchs, defeated the Stockton Thunder, 4-3, Friday evening before a crowd of 3,969 fans at Citizens Business Bank Arena. The game marked the Reign’s first playoff appearance in club history. Ontario took a 1-0 lead in the series with their victory.

The Reign drew the first blood of the playoff series with less than a minute remaining in the first period. Right wing Bud Holloway cut around the net and snapped the puck out to defenseman Shawn Germain, who sent a one-timer past Stockton netminder Andrew Perugini. Defenseman Dan Knapp also registered an assist on the goal, and the Reign took their 1-0 lead into the second frame.

The Reign scored their second unanswered goal during a power play that resulted from a Thunder hooking minor. Right wing Jon Rheault picked up the puck in the neutral zone and skated through two Stockton defenders. Rheault slipped the puck through the five-hole to extend the Reign’s lead, 2-0. Dan Knapp and defenseman David Walker notched the assists.

Stockton answered back at 14:18 and cut Ontario's lead by one. Centers Craig Valette and Cory Urquhart skated into the zone on a 2-on-1 rush. Valette passed the puck over to Urquhart, who wristed a shot past Ontario goaltender Jeff Zatkoff. Goaltender Andrew Perugini left the game after playing 36 minutes and was replaced by Bryan Pitton in the net. The score remained 2-1 with a Reign lead as the clubs geared up for the final period of play.

The Reign extended their lead, 3-1, just 59 seconds into the third period. Defenseman PJ Atherton squeezed a shot through the five-hole of netminder Bryan Pitton. Jon Rheault picked up his second point of the night with the assist.

The Thunder added another goal to the board at 7:18. Cory Urquhart beat an Ontario defenseman to the front of the net and threw the puck past Zatkoff. Defenseman Ryan Constant and Craig Valette picked up the assists.

During a power play at 11:27, the Thunder tied the game, 3-3, and Cory Urquhart recorded a hat trick with his third goal of the game. Urquhart fired the puck through traffic and into the bottom left corner of the net. Center Judd Blackwater and defenseman Robbie Bina claimed the assists on the play, and both teams looked for the equalizer as the clock ticked down.

Ontario reclaimed the lead just under a minute later on a power play. Shawn Germain sniped the puck up into the top-shelf of the net with assists from PJ Atherton and left wing Todd Jackson. Germain registered his second point of the game on the play, and his goal gave the Reign a 4-3 lead over the Thunder. Ontario was able to hold off Stockton for the remainder of play, and claimed the win with a final score of Reign 4, Thunder 3.

To view the box score, click here.

Three stars:
1. ONT – S. Germain
2. STK – C. Urquhart
3. ONT – J. Rheault

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