It was a fitting end to the game on Star Wars night as the Reign struck back twice to pick up a come from behind overtime win 2-1 on a goal by Kevin Gravel. The victory comes at the heels of the 3-1 win over Bakersfield last night giving the Reign a sweep of the weekend.
The Reign, as has happened often thus far, controlled the pace of the game and the possession of the puck for most of the contest. San Jose would be the first to find the back of the net, however. Trevor Parkes found the back of the net during the first period and San Jose held on to that lead for just about the entire game. With just over a minute left, Justin Auger tied the game at one. The final ticks ran off the clock and the tie would have to be settled by way of 3 on 3 OT. Veteran forward Sean Backman almost evened the game twice on his first shift of OT, but instead it was Gravel who found pay dirt. Gravel spoke about what helped Ontario stick with the game long enough to tie and eventually win it
“Something our team does really well is we stay positive. We stick with the process. We were getting our chances and they weren’t going at first but we don’t really let frustration set in.”
— ieProSports (@ieProSports) December 14, 2015
For Gravel the overtime winner was his third goal of the year and helped the Reign stay on top of the Pacific Divison. “Gravs is so reliable and dependable. He’s such a great defender and he’s got a great stick. Another guy that seems to elevate his play when you need a play or a goal,” said Head Coach Mike Stothers. “He seems to have an ability to raise the level of his play. I see him all the time so I can say what I want about him but I think he’s close. I think he’s real close he’s knocking on the door and if he gets an opportunity I think he’ll do the same as big Mike [Mersch], he’ll impress.”
For the second game the Reign have been without Michael Mersch due to his call up to the Los Angeles Kings. Nic Dowd was Mersch’s line mate nearly every game while he played in Ontario. Dowd spoke about being mixed around with nearly the entire lineup during the game:
“I think its challenging for everybody. Its nice to get into a rhythm playing with the guys you’re on the board with at the beginning of the game. You get out there and you have new guys every shift, eventually good players are going to make plays and its going to be fine. [Stothers] isn’t going to let you use that as an excuse.”
Ontario will play two games at home next weekend against the San Diego Gulls and Bakersfield Condors before they have some time off for the holidays.
Kempe – Dowd – Brodzinski
Samuels-Thomas – Crescenzi – Zykov
Lowry – Newbury – Backman
Bissonnette – Auger – Gogol
Gravel – Raine
LoVerde – MacDermid
Schutlz – Ebert