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Zatkoff's 29 Saves Keeps Reign Alive

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
ONTARIO, Calif. – The Ontario Reign, proud affiliate of the NHL Los Angeles Kings and AHL Manchester Monarchs, defeated the Stockton Thunder on Tuesday evening in Game 6 of the Pacific Division Semifinals before a crowd of 2,983 fans. With their victory, the Reign tied up the series and forced Game 7, which will be played at Citizens Business Bank Arena on Wednesday, April 22. | Buy Tickets

Ontario came out of the gate strong in a must-win game six. The home team notched three goals in the first period to take an early lead over the Thunder. The first goal came from center Tim Kraus at 8:25. The play unfolded when right wing Bud Holloway streaked down the right wing side of the ice and threw a pass across to right wing Geoff Walker. Walker, who was ready just to the left of the crease, fed the puck across to Kraus, who threw a shot up into the top corner of the goal.

Jon Rheault claimed the next two Reign goals, with his first crossing the red line at 14:42. Rheault stuffed a pass from defenseman Andrew Martens under the pads of Stockton goaltender Parker Van Buskirk to give the Reign a 2-0 lead. With 11 seconds left on the clock in the first period, Rheault chipped the puck over a sprawled Van Buskirk for his second goal of the match. Center Jon Francisco and Andrew Martens picked up the assists, and the Reign took a 3-0 lead into the second period.

The second period was goal-less until right wing Brad Mehalko extended the Reign lead to four goals with his wrister at 17:20. Mehalko punched a rebound from right wing Mike Howe’s bid over Van Buskirk, who was still down on the ice after making the initial save.

Andrew Martens was awarded a penalty shot at 2:45 in the final period of play for tripping, but Van Buskirk made the save and the score remained 4-0 with the Reign in the lead.

The Thunder scored their first goal of the game at 6:10 in the third period when left wing Garet Hunt beat Ontario netminder Jeff Zatkoff with a wraparound. Defenseman Cleve Kinley claimed the assist, and Stockton was finally on the board.

Stockton scored twice in a five minute span to cut the Reign lead to one goal late in the third period. The first Stockton goal came from a one-timer by Cleve Kinley from just inside the blue line, with assists from centers Judd Blackwater and Ryan Huddy. Right wing James Bates notched the third unanswered Thunder goal off assists from Blackwater and Kinley. Stockton pulled Van Buskirk with 53 seconds remaining in regulation in an attempt to force overtime, but was unable to find any last-minute goals. Ontario went on to win the match with a final score of Reign 4, Thunder 3.

To view the box score, click here.

Three stars:
1. ONT – J. Rheault
2. ONT – A. Martens
3. STK – C. Kinley

Bud Holloway extended his point streak to 6-games (5g, 7a) (4/10/09-4/21/09)
• Geoff Walker is currently on a 2-game assist streak (2a) (4/19/09-4/21/09)
• Jon Francisco is currently on a 2-game point streak (1g, 1a) (4/19/09-4/21/09)
• Andrew Martens is currently on a 2-game point streak (1g, 3a) (4/19/09-4/21/09)
• Brad Mehalko is currently on a 2-game point streak (1g, 1a) (4/19/09-4/21/09)
• The series is tied, 3-3; the clubs will meet for game 7 in Ontario on Wednesday, April 22

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