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Reign Move into First

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
STOCKTON, Calif. ? The Ontario Reign, proud affiliate of the NHL Los Angeles Kings and AHL Manchester Monarchs, defeated the Stockton Thunder, 3-2, Sunday evening before a crowd of 5,008 fans at Stockton Arena. As a result of Sunday's win and a victory over Las Vegas on Saturday, the Reign have reclaimed the first place ranking in the Pacific Division. The former first place Wranglers dropped to second after losing 4-1 to the Utah Grizzlies on Sunday.

The Thunder only needed 30 seconds to open up scoring in the match. Center Ryan Huddy scored a sharp-angle goal that made it into the net over Ontario netminder Kellen Briggs?s shoulder. Center Craig Valette and left wing Garet Hunt registered the assists on the play and Stockton took an early 1-0 lead.

At 12:35, Stockton defenseman Daryl Marcoux threw a shot on goal that bounced off Briggs? pads. Left wing Adam Huxley grabbed the rebound and poked it into the net to extend the Thunder?s lead, 2-0. The teams headed into the second period with Ontario looking for their first goal.

Midway through the second period, defenseman Dan Knapp fired the puck towards the net, but his bid hit a Thunder defenseman and bounced off goaltender Bryan Pitton. Forward Dale Reinhardt picked up the rebound and launched the puck over Pitton and into the net to make the score Thunder 2, Reign 1. Neither team found the back of the net during the remainder of the second, and the Thunder held their lead as the clubs headed into the final period of play.

A late second period Stockton hooking minor had the Reign on a power play to start the third. Left wing Ryan MacGregor sent a shot to the net that rebounded off of Pitton. Reign captain Jon Francisco jumped on the rebound and buried the puck behind Pitton to give Ontario the equalizer goal 41 seconds into the third period. Defenseman P.J. Atherton also registered an assist on the power play goal.

Defenseman David Walker took a hooking minor that put the Reign on the penalty kill at 6:07. P.J. Atherton notched his second point of the game when he found the back of the net and scored a huge shorthanded goal for the Reign. Atherton launched a shot from the right wing that Pitton just couldn?t get in front of, and the Reign took their first lead of the game. Stockton was unable to answer back and tie the score, and Ontario went on to win the game with a final score of Reign 3, Thunder 2.

Three stars:
1. ONT ? P. Atherton
2. STK ? A. Huxley
3. ONT ? D. Reinhardt
? Dale Reinhardt is currently on a 2-game point streak (1g, 1a) (2/14/09-2/15/09)

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