WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah - The Ontario Reign (37-16-4-2), proud affiliate of the NHL's Los Angeles Kings, took possession of first place in the Pacific Division with a 3-2 win over the Utah Grizzlies (25-30-0-5) before a crowd of 3,148 at Maverik Center Monday night.
The Reign scored the initial goal of the contest 9:14 into the first period on a shot from the blue line by Vincent LoVerde. The goal was LoVerde’s second of the series and fourth of the season.
Kyle Kraemer scored his 11th power-play goal and 21st overall goal of the year at 10:02 of the second frame to give Ontario a 2-0 lead. Mike Gabinet fired a shot from the top of the left circle which deflected to Kraemer on the far side of the net where he tapped it in. Steven Tarasuk added an assist.
The Grizzlies got on the board at 11:40 of the second as Ross Carlson one-timed a pass by Ryan Watson past J.F. Berube. The goal was Carlson’s first of the season. Bill Bagron re-established the two-goal lead at 13:04 as he took a feed from J.D. Watt inside the Reign blue line and sprinted to the Grizzlies net. Bagron waited for Andrew Engelage to make a move and then slid the puck along the ice and under the goaltender’s paddle.
Utah had an opportunity to do some damage early in the third period when Gabinet and Watt were sent to the box 27 seconds apart, giving the Grizzlies a two-man advantage for 1:33. However, the ECHL’s number one penalty killing unit withstood the attack. David Strathman cut Ontario’s lead to 3-2 with 7:29 remaining in regulation with a backhander around Berube. Utah continued to pour shots on Berube, outshooting Ontario 15-5 in the frame, but the Reign held on for a 3-2 win.
Berube (12-8-2) made 33 saves on 35 shots in the win, while Engelage (18-20-2) stopped 26 of the 29 shots he faced in the loss.
Three Stars: 1) ONT - Bill Bagron 2) ONT - J.F. Berube 3) UTA - Ross Carlson