After a tough loss to Stockton Friday night, the Reign looked to rebound against the San Diego Gulls. The Reign have been uncharacteristic in their lapses on defense through three games, giving up at least four goals in each of their first three contests. While this squad may hold more ability to put points on the board than Reign rosters of years past, allowing four plus goals a night is not a recipe for long term success. Sheldon Rempal scored twice and Kale Clague had a goal and two assists during a back and forth contest at the Vault.
Cal Petersen got the nod in net Saturday night for the Reign despite having played against Stockton Friday. The nature of the contest served as more than enough justification to start Petersen on back to back nights. Boko Imama and Jamie Devane filed into the lineup for what figured to be a physical matchup.
The game started out much like the last two games have for Ontario, with quick scoring for either team. Sheldon Rempal buried a nice Matt Moulson pass to grab an early lead for the Reign. They gave up the lead just a moment later when Sam Carrick beat Cal Petersen, all before five minutes had elapsed. Fan favorite Kurtis MacDermid crashed the San Diego net hard and ended up taking a penalty that cost Ontario a goal, making it 2-1 Gulls. Shortly thereafter local product Chase De Leo scored to make it 3-1. Brad Morrison scored for the Reign to make it 3-2 and half way through the first the teams were in a classic barn burner.
The two teams wasted no time in getting the pace right back to where it was, trading goals at the outset of the period. St. Cloud State product Mikey Eyssimont buried his second of the year and Andy Welinski scored for SD to keep their one goal lead. The second period played faster and more tightly contested than the previous four periods of Reign hockey and the 4-3 score lasted until a late powerplay for San Diego. Chase De Leo fed Andy Welinski again and a one-time shot found its way passed Petersen to give the Gulls a 5-3 lead headed into the third.
The Reign started the third period with a powerplay becuase Gulls playeer Corey Tropp lifted the puck over the glass at the close of the second period. Just 13 seconds into the third Joseph Blandisi took a penalty, affording Ontario a two-man advantage. Rempal fed Matt Moulson backdoor and he slid it passed Coreau to bring the game to within one goal. MacDermid found paydirt on a nice in zone sequence for Ontario and tied the game at five about half way through the period. This game began with the scent of overtime in the air and it came to fruition as neither team could grab the deciding goal through 60 minutes.
Rempal took over the game when OT started, drawing a tripping call early on in the overtime period and gave Ontario their best chance at grabbing the deciding goal. Despite nice setups and a good amount of in-zone time they were unable to score and the game went to a shootout. Rempal scored but the Gulls beat Petersen twice, leaving with the extra point.
Sheldon Rempal shootout goal. Silky. pic.twitter.com/KANDcmTNm4
— Cody Warner (@C_Warner11) October 14, 2018
Mikey Eyssimont on settling into his role in Ontario: Those three games I had last season kind of helped me prepare for this summer. I kind of knew what I was getting myself into. It hasn’t been too bad of an adjustment for me as the games have gone on. I’ve felt a lot better and more active on the ice and with some of the leadership we have it makes the adjustment a lot easier.
On his expectations for himself this season: I usually have some set goals but my first year pro, the biggest thing I want to accomplish is being consistent. After being sick to start my last college season it was hard to stay healthy and be consistent. After a big summer, I think that’s important. What I’ve heard from the older guys is consistency is the biggest difference in a pro so that’s something I want to work on.
On what he is looking to improve this season: Something I really focused on in the preseason and in the rookie tournament in Vegas was having a good stick on the forecheck. I want to get in there and get my stick in there and then finish my check. I think that’s something I’ve improved at but just overall forechecking and defensive zone plays are two specific areas.
Mike Stothers on the quick starts his team has faced: There’re a lot of goals being scored. On one side of it, I like the fact that we are scoring some goals. We’ve got to try and prevent one or two. Again, I look at it as a night where we had to battle through some adversity. We had some injuries that we picked up last night to [Zack] Mitchell who is a veteran guy and Matt Luff who is coming off a great rookie season. So that was a little bit tough but the guys they dealt with it, they moved on. We had some situations happen during the game where [there was] penalty trouble maybe and we battled through that. We fell behind and we kept battling and we got a valuable point. Overall these two games, I’m pretty happy with this group. I think there’s something there, there is a hwole lot to work with which I’m happy about. They’re good, they’re attitudes are good. For where we are this weekend, going forward into preparation for Wednesday’s game, I can’t wait.
On his expectations for Alex Lintuniemi this season: He’s been real solid. If you were a numbers guy and statistically you look at it I think tonight he was a dash (minus) three which has been uncharacteristic for him, he’s been real solid. He’s really grown and it’s taken a couple years but maybe it’s part of the position. Being a defenseman, sometimes it takes a little bit longer. He’s taken a real stronghold about how he prepares himself and how he looks after himself, both on and off the ice. Whether it’s nutrition or his workout habits, they’ve all improved. He’s become a very, very relaible player for us.
The Reign play again Wednesday, October 17 when they host the Nashville Predators AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals, at 7 PM.
Moulson – Maillet – Rempal
Essyimont – Sutter – Devane
Morrison – Bauman – Herr
Imama – Rymsha – Etem
Brickley – Roy
MacDermid – Walker
Clague – Lintuniem
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