ONTARIO, Calif. – The Ontario Reign, proud affiliate of the NHL Los Angeles Kings, defeated the Utah Grizzlies, 3-1, on Saturday evening in front of 8,038 fans at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
Utah got the scoring started at 1:53 in the opening period with a power play goal from right wing Vlady Nikiforov. Ontario netminder Curtis Darling was on his back when Nikiforov received the puck from left wing AJ Perry and wristed the puck into the net. Forward James Sixsmith also assisted on the play.
Ontario tied the game at 1-1 when center Jon Francisco went top shelf over Utah goaltender Beau Erickson’s stick side. Right wing Tony Voce and forward Michael Pelech picked up the assists on the play.
Defenseman Mike Egener gave the Reign the lead when his slap shot from just inside the blue line beat Erickson at 11:57 in the second period. Pelech pick up his second assist of the night and right wing Todd Jackson also assisted on the goal.
In the third period, the Grizzlies could not put the puck past Darling and pulled Erickson for the extra skater with a minute remaining in the game. Ontario’s Francisco passed the puck to right wing Mike Howe who found the empty net. Curtis Darling saved 28 of the 29 shots he faced and the Reign won their fifth straight game with the final score of Reign 3, Grizzlies 1.
Three stars: 1. ONT – Curtis Darling 2. ONT - Mike Egener 3. UTA - Vlady Nikiforov