Defenseman Vincent LoVerde scored the lone goal for the Ontario Reign (17-6-2-1) in a 4-1 loss to the Stockton Heat (10-14-0-2) in front of a crowd of 8,646 on Thursday night at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
Heat forward Kenny Agostino quieted the Reign crowd at 5:33 of the first stanza by capitalizing on a feed from defenseman Oliver Kylington and forward Derek Grant.
After a scoreless middle frame, the Reign responded in the third with heavy offensive pressure on netminder Joni Ortio before forward Emile Poirier fired a shot past netminder Peter Budaj at 2:13. Kylington picked up his second assist of the night while forward Bill Arnold received the secondary assist.
The Reign continued to test Ortio, while Budaj had to deal with several Stockton power plays and many quality chances throughout the final stanza before the Heat took control of the momentum. Forward Bryce Van Brabant made it 3-0 at 16:51, picking up the puck and burying a shot over Budaj’s shoulder. Arnold tallied his second assist, his seventh of the season.
Moments later, thanks to a fine play by forwards Joel Lowry and Valentin Zykov, LoVerde snapped a shot from inside the right circle, breaking the shutout for Ortio at 17:13.
Defenseman Brett Kulak tilted the score in favor of Stockton for good with an empty-net goal at 17:58 to secure the victory.
Ontario outshot Stockton, 27-19.