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Ontario Reign defenseman Kevin Gravel scored the tying goal late in the third period, but the rally came up short, falling 2-1 in overtime to the San Antonio Rampage Saturday night at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
“No matter when we get scored on, one thing that Stothers preaches is stay at an even keel. We score a goal, we get scored on, nothing changes; especially when they score 20 seconds into the game. You still have the entire game to come back and we needed every second of that tonight, but eventually we did come back and fought out a point there,” said Gravel. “A point is a point and come down to the end of the year you’re a point out of there or a point in there so every point matters.”
The Rampage (4-0-2-0) jumped out to a 1-0 lead 24 seconds into the first period. Forward Andrew Agozzino picked up a loose puck and fired it past Reign goaltender Ray Emery from a rebound that came off a blocked shot by forwardBen Street. Forward Mikko Rantanen picked up the secondary assist.
Ontario (5-0-2-0) dominated possession in the first period, pressing Rampage netminder Calvin Pickard with forwards Sean Backman and Michael Mersch firing plenty of chances that came up short. The Reign rifled 21 shots while limiting the Rampage to only four at the end of the frame.
Looking to tie the game in the second period, Reign continued to pressure Pickard, tacking on eight more shots, but had no luck finding the back of the net.
The Reign looked destined to lose in regulation, but made a final offensive push, pulling Emery for the extra attacker. Gravel came away with the big goal in the final frame with 44 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime. Backman picked up the assist and leads Ontario with seven points this season. Forward Adrian Kempe earned the secondary assist.
In overtime, Agozzino found Street and set him up for the game-winner at 3:15. Pickard made 37 saves for the win, while Emery recorded 19 stops.
“Tomorrow is another day. We play a lot of three-on-three especially last year so we just got to continue to play our game. The guys are upbeat in there and we are happy with how we played tonight,” said Gravel. “It’s a new day against San Jose. We played them last week so we kind of know what they’re about and we just got to be ready come puck drop tomorrow.”
Ontario finished the game 0-for-4 on the power play while San Antonio went 0-for-3.