Stockton, CA – Forwards Michael Mersch and Teddy Purcell each scored points in their return to the lineup, but the Ontario Reign (27-15-8-0) fell to the Stockton Heat (22-22-4-1) 6-2 at Stockton Arena Wednesday night.
The Heat jumpstarted the offense early in the first period, firing four quick shots on Reign netminder Jack Campbell (L, 12 saves on 16 shots) and grabbed a 1-0 lead at 3:23 as defenseman Keith Aulie tapped in a centering pass from forward Garnet Hathaway. The Reign pushed back with 12 shots in the opening period and a strong performance on their opening power play. Heat goalie Jon Gillies (W, 34 saves on 36 shots) kept the Reign in check.
Forward Justin Auger made it 1-1 with an unassisted shorthanded goal 16 seconds into the second period, but the Heat rattled off the next four goals to take a 5-1 lead into the intermission. Heat forward Mark Jankowski picked up his team-leading 18 and 19 markers of the season at 2:04 and 4:42 (power play) and forward Morgan Klimchuck chased Campbell to the bench in favor of Jeff Zatkoff (18 saves on 20 shots) at 4:57. Midway through the frame, forward Linden Vey blasted a shot over the blocker of Zatkoff on the man advantage at 13:42.
The Heat added one more goal early in the final frame with a Tyler Wotherspoon deflection past Zatkoff 38 seconds in. Reign forward Michael Mersch, who missed the previous 18 games due to injury, struck on the power play at 12:32 to complete the game scoring. Forwards Teddy Purcell, who missed the past 11 games due to injury, and Jonny Brodzinski added assists. The Reign finished the game 1-for-5 on the power play while the Heat went 2-for-4.
The Reign host the Heat on Friday, March 3 at 7:00 p.m. $2 Bud Light Friday returns! Buy Tickets
Celebrate the weekend with the Reign on Saturday, March 4 as they host the Tucson Roadrunners at Citizens Business Bank Arena at 6:00 p.m. Buy Tickets
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