J.P Hoornstra, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
It's easy to downplay the officiating mistake Saturday that cost Reign forward Jeff Corey a goal in the first period - and cost the Reign a potential victory.
It was early in the game and early in the season. Ultimately the Reign were able to force overtime and a shootout, picking up one point in the standings in a 3-2 loss to the Stockton Thunder.
Yet the value of one standings point in the ECHL can't be underestimated, and Stockton's victory might come back to haunt the Reign if head-to-head records are needed to determine a playoff tiebreaker. Last season, the Reign missed the playoffs by only two points and did most of their struggling early in the season.
The significance of the moment wasn't lost on Corey.
"It would have been a win," Corey said. "But everyone makes mistakes. Hopefully he (the official) doesn't make it again."
The more important question is if the significance of the mistake was lost on the ECHL.
In the NHL, the goal could have been ruled good after a simple video review in the league's "war room" in Toronto. In the ECHL, the video could only be reviewed after the fact by Joe Ernst, the league's director of officiating, who admitted the mistake by the on-ice crew.
"The protocol is if there's a disputed goal - be it in (the net) or be it a play where anything looks weird - we ask the official to shut the play down, which they did," Ernst said. "They shut the play down because something was weird. I've seen video of it. You can't hide with video. (Corey's shot) did go through a hole in the net."
Even after play was stopped, however, the game stayed 0-0. Why?
"The linesman that was covering (Steven Berry) was 100 percent sure it didn't go in the net," Ernst said.
The only mistake in protocol was that the off-ice goal judge, standing behind the Stockton net, wasn't consulted on the play.
"On March 12, we announced that if all three guys on the ice do not have the same thing, we want them to talk to the goal judge," Ernst said. "The goal judges are there to assist us. We ask them flat out, `Did the puck cross the line or not?' "
Whether the goal judge saw the puck cross the line is a footnote lost to history.
The Reign acquired defenseman Lane Caffaro on Monday from the Idaho Steelheads for future considerations.
The 26-year-old has played in 25 AHL games and 32 ECHL games in his pro career, which began in 2008-09 following a four-year career at Union College. In two games this season for the Steelheads, he has no points and seven penalty minutes.
Coach Karl Taylor said that Caffaro was scheduled to drive from Boise to Ontario, then fly with the team to Victoria, British Columbia, for a three-game series beginning Wednesday against the Salmon Kings.
Defenseman Eric Doyle has an undisclosed injury and won't accompany the team. Pat Bowen, who was acquired last week from Greenville, was healthy and set to enter the lineup but was unable to travel because of a passport issue. The specific issue? He doesn't have a passport.
"I'm doing that this week," said Bowen, a Boston native.
Goaltender Martin Jones, who was recalled to the American Hockey League's Manchester Monarchs on Thursday, won his first AHL game Sunday, a 36-save effort against the Charlotte Checkers.
Jeff Zatkoff has a 3-1-1 record, a 2.57 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage in five games for the Monarchs.
Left wing Dwight King leads the Monarchs with five goals in eight games, to go along with two assists. Monarchs right wing Bud Holloway has a goal and three assists in eight games.
Right wing Jon Rheault scored his first goal of the AHL season for the Abbotsford Heat on Wednesday. He has a goal and three assists in eight games.
Right wing Geoff Walker had two assists in six games for the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Center Dusty Collins, who earned a roster spot with the San Antonio Rampage out of training camp, has a minus-2 rating, 10 penalty minutes and no points through seven games.