The first two periods of Friday night’s game were forgettable for the Ontario Reign. Yet, they made the final period and overtime count; walling away with a 3-2 win over the San Jose Barracuda after Nic Dowd ended things 28 seconds into overtime.
Dowd was able to help force a neutral zone turn over, and after receiving a pass from Vincent LoVerde, quickly transition into a two-on-one attack with Michael Mersch. Dowd looked off Mersch and fired a shot high over the glove of Barracuda goaltender Aaron Dell. Dowd has been on a hot streak in the new year recording 12 points in his last ten games, including seven goals. He’s only been held scoreless in two of those 12 games.
Down 2-0 going into the third period the Reign picked up their pace of play and got back in it on a goal by LoVerde. LoVerde took a pass from Valentin Zykov and threw the puck towards the net and it found its way past Dell. For LoVerde and the Reign it was just the type of play they were looking for after the poor first two periods.
“We had a few discussions in between the first and second, and the second and third, the defense needed to do a better job getting pucks through,” said LoVerde. “Zykov made a good pass from the corner out to me, and I was just looking to try to get it through, the puck had eyes and just found it’s way in.”
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With the Reign still looking to tie the game late in the third, Jeff Schultz took a double-minor for high sticking Barracuda defenseman Marco Mueller. Late in the second half of the double-minor, Andrew Crescenzi was able to draw a penalty on Julius Bergman which gave the Reign a power play with under two minutes left in the period. With goaltender Peter Budaj pulled in favor of an extra attacker, Adrian Kempe found Sean Backman sitting wide open on the opposite side of the ice. Kempe fired a perfect pass to Backman who one-timed it past Dell to tie the game.
“I saw him open in the beginning a little bit, but then I was going to take a shot,” said Kempe. “Then I saw him, he was really open, so I gave him the pass after a couple seconds. I saw he was open for a couple of seconds, but I waited a little bit before I passed.”
For the Reign it was the perfect play on what was a non-perfect night. They were sluggish through the two periods of play, and spent most of the game chasing after allow the Barracuda to have a 2-0 lead after the first period. Kempe took a major boarding penalty just 38 seconds into the game giving San Jose their first chance. The Reign almost killed it off before defenseman Karl Stollery sneaked his way down and received a backdoor pass from Nikolay Goldobin. Later on in the period the Barracuda struck again after a face-off loss in the offensive zone. San Jose flew up on the ice with an odd man attack, and Trevor Parkes was able to get an inside lane on LoVerde and he tipped a pass from Jeremy Langlois past Budaj.
Notes: This was the 12th and final game in the suspension of defenseman Kurtis MacDermid. MacDermid was suspended on December 26th after his hit on San Diego Gulls forward Matt Bailey.
Mersch – Dowd – Backman
Kempe – Crescenzi – Zykov
Auger – Army – Brodzinski
Samuels-Thomas – Horvat – Bissonnette
Leslie – LoVerde
Schultz – Raine
Forbort – Gravel