ONTARIO, Calif. - The Ontario Reign (30-15-3-2), proud affiliate of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, ended the six-game win streak of the Colorado Eagles (28-17-1-4) with a 4-3 victory before 6,291 at Citizens Business Bank Arena Friday night.
Something about the Eagles brings out the best in Derek Couture and the Reign offense. Couture came into the game with 10 points (4g, 6a) in five games against Colorado and added a goal and assist tonight. Ontario has averaged more than four goals a game in the series.
After missing the previous three home games, Couture announced his return to the crowd with his 21st goal of the season 6:11 into the opening frame. Kyle Jones denied new Ontario forward, Everett Sheen’s wraparound attempt, but Couture snapped the rebound into the net before the goalie could recover. C.J. Stretch added an assist. Kevin Estrada extended Ontario’s lead to 2-0 at 14:10 with a one-timer off of a Kyle Kraemer pass. Estrada leaned into a bomb of a slap shot at the top of the right face-off circle for his 13th marker of the season.
Ontario jumped out to a 4-0 lead on power-play goals by Kraemer at 15:57 of the second and Estrada.19 seconds into the third. Kraemer tapped home a pass from Tristan King while stationed at the right pipe and Estrada cleaned up a rebound in the crease after a shot by Couture.
Colorado was determined to make a game of it, scoring three unanswered goals by Steve Haddon, Michael Forney, and Chad Costello in the third period (Forney’s goal coming short-handed) to cut the Reign lead to 4-3. However, Ontario endured intense pressure in the closing minutes to open a four-point lead over Colorado in the Western Conference standings.
J.F Berube was tested early and often as Colorado pelted the rookie netminder with 47 shots – the most any Reign goaltender has faced this season. Berube (10-8-2-0) extended his unbeaten streak to six games with the win, while Jones (23-9-0-3) saw his six-game win streak snapped with the loss.
Three stars: 1) ONT- Kevin Estrada 2) COL- Chad Costello 3) ONT- Kyle Kraemer