Filing for MayorsManor – photos by David Sheehan and game report by Scott Coffman…
“It felt like we were chasing them all night,” is how Ontario Reign coach Jason Christie summed up his team’s overtime loss to the visiting Alaska Aces.
An interesting comment considering the home team had a two goal lead early in the game and took a 3-2 advantage into the third period after Kyle Kraemer found a loose puck in front and slid it past Aces’ goalie Gerald Coleman.
Alas, it wasn’t enough - for a game that had a bit of an NHL feel to it, thanks to the lockout.
Midway through the third period, Alaska tied the game on a goal by Tommy Mele. He found a rebound on a jam attempt by Jarred Smith and poked it past LA Kings goalie prospect J.F. Berube.
Then, Kane Lafranchise scored on a one-timer, just 1:02 into overtime, after receiving a pass from Garry Nunn behind the net. Lafranchise’s third goal of the year beat Berube low on the glove side and gave the Aces a 4-3 overtime win.
Ontario had taken an early two goal lead in the second period on markers that came just 37 seconds apart and in the first 1:01 of play. First, captain Derek Couture converted a rebound off a Devin Setoguchi shot. LA Kings forward Kyle Clifford then beat the defenseman to the outside before coming back inside and around Coleman, and lifting the puck over the outstretched goalie for his third goal of the season.
However, the Aces answered back with two consecutive goals of their own. Nate Thompson, of the Tampa Bay Lightning, found himself alone in front of Berube and knocked home the rebound of his own shot. Then, Berube made a mental mistake behind the net, losing his stick and sight of the puck. Alaska’s Zach Harrison took advantage of the situation and had a wide open net in front of him to tie the game at two.
Overall, it had to be a disappointing game for Ontario, considering they had the lead throughout most of the second and third periods of play at Citizens Business Bank Arena on Saturday night. Still, with a loss in overtime, the Reign managed to gain a point in the standings and have pushed their record to 10-1-1 in their last 12 games.
The game had early season ramifications in the Conference standings though. Although Ontario continues to lead the pacific Division with 29 points on the season, a win would have catapulted over Alaska for the top spot in the West. Instead, they now sit three points behind them.
There will be more hockey in Southern California next weekend, when the Reign host Bakersfield on Friday and Idaho on Saturday. They won’t see Alaska again until early January.