T.J. Berka, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
ONTARIO - The 7,615 in attendance at the ECHL All-Star game received considerable bang for its buck Wednesday night. Not only did two Reign players score and Kings great and NHL Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille make an appearance, but the fans were treated to overtime hockey at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
After a scoreless overtime, the American Conference All-Star team prevailed in a shootout to grab a 10-9 victory.
The American All-Star team overcame a two-goal deficit coming into the third period and outscored the National Conference All-Stars 3-1 in the shootout, with Elmira forward Justin Donati putting the finishing touches on the victory by beating Idaho goaltender Richard Bachman on the fourth rotation. Florida's Jacob Micflikier and Wheeling's Mitch Ganzak also scored shootout goals for the American Conference, while Idaho's Evan Barlow - who scored two goals in regulation - netted a goal for the National team.
"For the three Reign guys, it stinks to have another one-goal loss," said Reign defenseman David Walker, who joined Peter Lenes and Greg Hogeboom as Ontario representatives. "But it's a fun night out there and I think we put on a pretty good show."
The Reign trio were a big part of the National team's success in the second period. After going into the first intermission down 3-2, Lenes scored a mere 1:37 into the period on a wrist shot off a pass from Bakersfield's Shawn Weller to tie things up at 3-3.
"I was happy to see Pete score because he's a fan favorite," Walker said.
After a goal by Utah's Victor Bartley put the National Conference ahead, Walker took a pass from Idaho's John Swanson in front of the net and pounded the puck past South Carolina goaltender Braden Holtby.
The rest of the second period was a display of nifty goaltending by Bakersfield's Timo Pielmeier, a well-regarded prospect in the Ducks' organization. Pielmeier turned away 12 of the 14 shots, many spectacularly, as the National team took a 7-5 lead into the third period.
Pielmeier had two saves that stood out above the rest. He robbed Trenton's Jeff Prough with a wicked glove save with 10:35 left in the second and denied Donati on a sliding stick save to protect a momentarily-open net that reduced Donati to a sheepish smile.
"Those are the type of saves I wanted to make in this game," Pielmeier said. "I thought I would have to make a couple like that."
The American team did work its way back in the third period as Pielmeier was replaced by Idaho's Richard Bachman. The American All-Stars outscored the National team 4-2 in the third period, scoring the overtime-forcing goal with 2:36 left on a goal by Johnstown's Connor Shields, his second of the game.
Photo courtesy of David Carr