The Ontario Reign lost in a shootout on Friday night in their first preseason game at their new Southern California home, Citizens Business Bank Arena. San Diego Gulls forward Ondrej Kase beat Reign goaltender Michael Houser on the backhand in the first round of the shootout, while Gulls goaltender Matt Hackett stopped all three Reign shooters to secure the victory for the Anaheim Ducks top minor league affiliate.
After being down 2-0 following goals by Bryan Moore and Harry Zolnierczyk, the Reign fought back in the second period. Los Angeles Kings prospect Alex Roach scored to reduce the Gulls lead down to one. Roach, one of four players skating Friday night who had previously suited up for the ECHL’s Ontario Reign, found himself open on the point and received a pass from Jordan Samuels-Thomas. Roach took the pass, walked in, and beat Hackett between the legs.
Reign head coach Mike Stothers, last season’s AHL Coach of the Year, was encouraged by his team’s play later in the contest. “I just like the fact that we got better as the game went on,” said Stothers.
Ontario improved their hard fought physical play in the third period and tied the game when Valentin Zykov, one of the Kings top prospects at forward, took a nifty pass from Kris Newbury at the top of the left circle to beat Hackett. Zykov took a couple of strides towards the goal before firing a hard low shot off the near post and in. The goal came just nine seconds into a Reign power play.
Line combos and defensive pairings:
The biggest news of the night came from a player who wasn’t even in the lineup:
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Photo: B. Dreyfuss