ONTARIO, Calif. – The Ontario Reign, proud affiliate of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, lost its first home game of the season, 3-2, in a shootout loss in overtime.
A sellout crowd was treated to a little bit of everything in the Ontario Reign’s home opener at Citizens Business Bank Arena on Saturday; a phantom goal, a fight, three breakaways, a penalty shot, a Reign power play goal, a short-handed goal and a shootout.
Early in the first, Jeff Corey went in on breakaway and appeared to beat Thunder goaltender Tyson Sexsmith with a low snap shot, but the puck bounced out so quickly that the officials didn’t signal a score and allowed play to continue. At the half-way mark of the period, Reign defenseman David Walker squared off at center ice with the Thunder’s Cameron Brodie. Walker somehow got Brodie’s jersey over his face and pummeled the temporarily blinded Brodie until the pair fell to the ice and refs stepped in.
Late in the period, Jon Francisco was denied on a breakaway and Jesse Gimblett fired the puck out of play on a clearing attempt. No call was made initially, but coach Karl Taylor slapped the glass and yelled for a penalty. The refs had a conference and the refs sent Gimblett to the box for delay of game. On the power play, Doyle pulled up along the left boards and made a pass to Shawn Collymore at the point. Collymore let a slap shot rip and Jeff Corey redirected it past Sexsmith to give the Reign a 1-0 lead.
At 17:40 Mark Arcobello was awarded a penalty shot when was dragged down from behind on a breakaway. As he skated in on Kellen Briggs, the Reign netminder surprised Arcobello with a sudden poke check that ended the threat without a shot.
Gimblett made up for his mistake at 3:18 of the second period when he slipped the puck just inside the left goalpost on a wrap around to tie it at 1-1. The Reign came right back to retake the lead, 2-1. Matt Delehey took the puck into the Thunder zone and dropped it off for Corey who put a shot through traffic. Sexsmith made the save, but couldn’t cover the puck. A mass of players crashed the crease and Jon Francisco poked it through Sexsmith’s pads for his third goal of the season.
In the third, the Reign had a chance to increase its lead on a power play, but the Thunder stole the puck and Jason Pitton went five hole on Briggs to tie it at 2-2 on the short hander. Play got physical as the clock counted down, with penalties called on both teams as the game went into overtime.
After a scoreless overtime, the game came down to a shootout. Stockton scored on its first attempt, but Ontario missed on its first four. Chad Starling came through on the team’s fifth chance only to see Pitton win it for the Thunder on its fifth try, 3-2.
The games three stars were:
1) STK – Jason Pitton
2) ONT – Jeff Corey
3) STK – Tyson Sexsmith
Complete scoring summary available by clicking here.
The Reign head out on the road for three games and return home to play the Alaska Aces Thursday, November 4th at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 6th is Military Night, sponsored by Stater Bros. Charities. Reign players will be wearing special edition military jerseys for the game, which will be auctioned off immediately following the game against Alaska. Auction proceeds will benefit local veteran organizations.
The first 3,000 fans in attendance will receive a limited edition Jeff Zatkoff bobblehead, so be sure to arrive early!
A post-game player party will be held at Boston's Pizza (4th & Milliken location) immediately following the game. Come out, meet your favorite Reign players, and enjoy 15% off of your bill (excluding alcohol) when you show your ticket stub from the game against Alaska.
Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased at the Citizen Business Bank Arena box office or online at www.ontarioreign.com. Call the Reign front office for more information at (909) 941-PUCK (7825).