Forward Michael Mersch scored twice, but the Ontario Reign (11-3-2-0) fell to the San Diego Gulls (10-7-0-1) 3-2 at Valley View Casino Center Friday evening, snapping the Reign’s three-game winning streak.
Gulls forward Nic Kerdiles opened the scoring midway through the first period, banking a shot past Reign netminder Peter Budaj (L, 28 saves on 31 shots) at 11:57.
Forward Kyle Bonis gave the Gulls a 2-0 lead early in the second period by blocking a shot and spinning a chance between the legs of Budaj at 4:32. The Reign jumped on the scoreboard on the power play at 7:13 as Mersch redirected a shot from forward Nic Dowd past Gulls goaltender Matt Hackett (W, 23 saves on 25 shots). Forward Sean Backman added the second assist. Defenseman Shea Theodore reclaimed a two-goal lead for the Gulls with a man-advantage marker at 12:57.
Mersch pulled the game back within one on the power play at 9:48 of the third period with his team-leading 11th goal of the season with help from defenseman Kevin Gravel. As the clock ticked down, the Reign were awarded a power play and pulled Budaj for the extra attacker, but could not find the game-tying marker.
Ontario finished the game 2-for-7 on the power play while the Gulls went 1-for-6.