ONTARIO, Calif.- The Ontario Reign (37-17-5-3), proud affiliate of the NHL's Los Angeles Kings, were dealt a 4-1 loss by the Las Vegas Wranglers (39-19-1-4) before a sellout crowd of 9,592 Saturday night at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
The Reign entered the contest hoping to pad their one-point lead over the Wranglers in the Pacific Division standings, but instead fell a point behind Las Vegas and out of first place. It was the seventh time in 11 games against Las Vegas that Ontario was held to one goal or fewer.
J.F. Berube had his 10-game unbeaten streak snapped and Ontario suffered its first regulation loss in nine games.
As in last night’s game against Las Vegas, Ontario got on the board early in the first period. With the Reign on a power play, Mike Gabinet finished off a series of tic-tac-toe passes from Pat Bowen and Kyle Kraemer with a snap shot over Mitch O’Keefe’s blocker at 3:46. Ontario looked to take advantage of its second power play when Adam Miller was sent off for roughing after he ran Berube late in the period. However, Chris Frances intercepted Bowen’s pass at the Wranglers blue line and was hooked as he raced in on Berube, earning him a penalty shot which he converted to tie the game at 15:50.
Las Vegas jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second frame as they outshot Ontario 15-4. The first goal came at 12:47 when Sean Wiles hit the post then chipped the carom into the top of the net. Judd Blackwater added a goal as he lost control of the puck trying to jump into the slot and it deflected into the net off of Adrian Van de Mosselaer’s skate.
The deficit widened to three goals in the third, as a pair of cross-ice passes put Berube out of position and Robbie Smith capitalized with a goal at 5:57.
Berube (12-9-4) made 28 saves, while O'Keefe (7-6-1) pushed his winning streak to three games with 25 saves.
Three Stars: 1) LV - Sean Wiles 2) LV - Mitch O'Keefe 3) ONT- Mike Gabinet