WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – The Ontario Reign, proud affiliate of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, defeated the Utah Grizzlies 4-3 on Friday to earn the team's fourth straight road victory. Michael Pelech notches a short-handed goal and an assist in the match.
After a scoreless first period, the Grizzlies took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play to gain a 1-0 advantage over the Reign, but Ontario vaulted to a 3-1 lead courtesy of Utah turnovers. Aaron Lewadniuk got the ball rolling as he intercepted a pass right through the Utah slot and wristed it past Jean-Philippe Laroureaux for the equalizer. Less than two minutes later, Jordan Hill stole a clearing attempt and fed the puck to Luke Beaverson at the blue line. Beaverson let loose with a rocket and Chaz Johnson was there to knock home the rebound and give Ontario its first lead of the night, 2-1.
With 2:15 left in the period and the Reign with a man in the box, Brett O'Malley led Michael Pelech down the ice with a long pass. Pelech deked a Utah defenseman and slipped the puck past Laroureaux for a short-handed goal and a 3-1 Reign lead.
Utah wasn't read to give up. Tyler Ruegsegger cut the Reign lead to 3-2 at 7:15 of the third period. Ontario re-claimed a two-goal lead late in the frame. Pelech won the draw back to Lane Caffaro, who fired a shot through traffic and into the cage to make it 4-2. The Grizzlies clawed back. With just over two minutes to play, Utah coach Kevin Colley pulled Lamoureaux for a sixth attacker. The move worked. Utah marched right into the Ontario zone and Tim Crowder's goal again brought the Grizzlies within one.
However, Nick Tuzzolino was called for hooking at 18:30 and the Reign controlled the puck for the rest of regulation, preventing the Grizzlies from pulling Lamoureaux for the extra man.
Kellen Briggs saved 31 of 34 shots to earn the win, while Lemoureaux saved 26 for 30 in the loss. The Reign are now 6-4-0-0 on the road.
Tonight’s three stars were: 1) ONT – Michael Pelech 2) UTA – Tim Crowder 3) UTA – Simon Ferguson