ONTARIO, Calif. - The Ontario Reign, official affiliate of the NHZatkoff_small.jpgL Los Angeles Kings and the AHL Manchester Monarchs held their inaugural season home opener Saturday evening at Citizens Business Bank Arena. The Reign took home the win, outscoring the Wranglers 4-1 in front of a crowd of 8,832. Reign goaltender Jeff Zatkoff
stopped 34 of the 35 shots on the night, helping lead the Reign to victory and earning him tonight’s first-star of the game.
After a three game stanza in as many days against the Las Vegas Wranglers( 1-3-1, 3 points), the Reign (3-1-0, 6 points) finally had the chance to show hometown fans what Ontario Reign hockey is all about. The Reign power play was back in effect, with the Reign scoring two of their four goals on the night with the man advantage. Reign D Dan Knapp scored the Reign’s first home goal in club history, and his first on the season, at 18:11 off of an assist from LW Todd Jackson in the first. The Reign held off the Wranglers the final two minutes of the period to lead the match 1-0.
The teams tied the second period with one goal apiece, as the Reign netted the first goal of the period on a power play as D David Walker got one past Wranglers goaltender Martin Houle at the 2:44 mark. D Andrew Martens and C Jon Francisco assisted on Walker’s goal to give Martens his second assist on the season. LW Ryan MacGregor and Vegas LW Tyler Spencer dropped the gloves just two minutes later and showed Reign fans the heated rivalry forming between the opposing teams. Vegas F Matt Beaudoin scored the lone Wranglers goal on the evening at 5:01 in the period. Neither team could edge ahead in the second as the Reign ended the period leading the Wranglers 2-1.
Going into the third the Reign took full advantage of Wrangler penalties as they netted two more goals to seal the win. LW Todd Jackson scored his first goal on the season and his second point of the night when he slipped the puck past the crease on another Reign power play goal. RW Geoff Walker and C Jon Francisco (Francisco’s second assist on the night) were recorded with the assists. RW Ryan Bowness slotted his first-ever professional goal in the win to push the Reign’s lead over the Wranglers at 11:53 in the third. LW Ryan MacGregor and C Tim Kraus assisted on Bowness’ first-goal as the Wranglers couldn’t contend with the Reign, with the match ending in a final score 4 to 1.
The Wranglers outshot the Reign by nearly double as the Reign put up 18 shots in the match, but the Reign were able to convert nearly one-quarter of the shots into goals to force the win.