Andrew Crescenzi is not usually on the power play, but he got a chance Sunday afternoon in Ontario in the final minute of the game and it paid off. Crescenzi drove hard to the net and knocked in his own rebound to lead the Reign to a comeback win 2-1 over the Texas Stars. Crescenzi took a pass from another player who isn’t a power play specialist in Jeff Schultz, but the combo worked out for Head Coach Mike Stothers.
“I got thrown out in the last minute of the power place, which is nice,” said Crescenzi. “Schultz feathered a nice pass through their defenseman and i just tried to spin and jam it in, in front of the net and luckily it went in.”
The power play was created by Michael Mersch who in his third game back in the AHL wouldn’t give up on a one-on-one rush against Stars’ forward Greg Rallo. Rallo held on to Mersch as he pushed forward towards the goal giving Ontario the opportunity they needed.
Mersch also had his hand in the first Ontario goal as he was standing in front of the net when Vincent LoVerde’s shot bounced off the player he was battling in front of the net and Nic Dowd came in and found the rebound and beat Stars goalie Philippe Desrosiers high. For Dowd it’s his fourth goal in three games as he’s been back on a line with Mersch since he’s been back in Ontario.
“I got in on the forecheck, and I think Backman made a good play and stop the rim and got the puck up to the point and I just tried to get to the net as quick as I could,” said Dowd. “Mersch was there, and I actually think he got a piece of it trying to tip it, and it kind of dropped down in front of him and I was just able to be fortunate and was able to corral it and just kind of shot it and it happened to find it’s.”
Texas scored the first goal of the game after a mistake by Reign goaltender Michael Houser. Houser who was playing in his first regular season game for the Reign tried to play the puck on the power play up the center of the ice. Unfortunately for Houser the only person in the area was Stars’ forward Jason Dickinson, who one-timed the puck into the open goal. Dickinson was outside the blue line when he took aim at the empty net vacated by Houser. Besides that hiccup, Hauser was really strong for the Reign, putting together his first win for his new club.
For the Reign they put together a strong weekend for playing three games in three days. By winning two of three they continue to have the best winning percentage in the Pacific Division.
Vincent LoVerde had a two point game, assisting on both goals scored. The All-Star defenseman now has 19 points on the season, only one point behind his career high of 20, which he has had in each of his last two seasons. Mersch led the Reign with seven shots in goal, Dowd was second with five. Between the two of them they had 12 of the Reign’s 23 total shots on goal. Houser made 21 saves in the game, stopping all of the Stars’ best chances in the game.
Mersch – Dowd – Backman
Kempe – Army – Zykov
Samuels-Thomas – Crescenzi – Auger
Lowry – Horvat – Bissonnette
Forbort – Gravel
Schultz – Raine
LoVerde – Leslie