San Diego, CA – Forward Sean Backman buried the game-winning goal with 1:35 left and snapped a lengthy goal drought to help the Ontario Reign (11-5-5-0) over the San Diego Gulls (11-9-1-0) 3-2 at Valley View Casino Center Tuesday night. The win sends the Reign’s unbeaten streak to six contests (5-0-1-0).
Both sides failed to find the back of the net in the first period, but generated scoring changes. The Gulls raced out to an early shot advantage before the Reign found their stride and led through 20 minutes, 14-9.
Reign defenseman Zac Leslie broke open the scoring midway through the second period as he moved around the right-wing circle to rip a shot past the glove of Gulls netminder Dustin Tokarski (L, 29 saves on 32 shots). Forward Andrew Crescenzi and defenseman Rob Scuderi picked up assists. The Gulls responded late in the frame as forward Chris Wagner blocked a Vincent LoVerde pass on the power play and raced in on a shorthanded breakaway to beat goalie Jack Campbell (W, 18 saves on 20 shots) past the blocker at 18:31.
The Gulls claimed the lead 31 seconds into the third period as forward Nick Sorensen lifted a shot over the glove of Campbell. Moments later, Reign forward Michael Latta caught a feed from Joel Lowry and ripped in his second goal of the season at 4:51 to make it 2-2.
With the clock winding down and the Reign pressuring, Backman stopped a rolling puck outside of the crease, faked around Tokarski and buried the game-winning maker and a snapped a 14-game goal drought at 18:25. The Reign finished the game 0-for-4 on the power play while the Gulls went 0-for-1.
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