Ontario, CA – Forward Michael Mersch tallied two points and netminder Jack Campbell made 31 saves to lead the Ontario Reign (12-6-5-0) to an emphatic 3-2 win over the Bakersfield Condors (10-9-2-0) on Friday night at Citizens Business Bank Arena. Forwards TJ Hensick and Jonny Brodzinski recorded a goal each and are now tied alongside Mersch with a team-leading eight goals.
The Reign knew exactly what they needed to do to get back into the win column.
“It was a complete 60-minute game for us,” said Mersch following the game. “We need to have a better start. I thought the first line did a good job at establishing an offensive zone and we were able to get out there and have another offensive zone faceoff. I think that all led up to it.”
The home team was off to an auspicious start in the opening 20 minutes, drilling five shots on goal in the first 63 seconds of action. As far as first periods go, Ontario knew they had to execute fast and early.
It was Mersch who slammed home his eighth marker of the season to give Ontario a 1-0 lead. The 24-year-old rebounded a shot from forward Adrian Kempe that beat netminder Laurent Brossoit at 9:26. Both teams closed out the period with 11 shots apiece.
While it looked as if Ontario was in control, it didn’t translate to Campbell having an easy night. The veteran goaltender was put to work in the middle frame, but came away with a good flurry of saves backed by a solid defensive showing from his teammate, Zach Leslie. Hensick broke through at 17:44 grabbing a loose puck on a steal from forward Teddy Purcell in the neutral zone. The Reign continued to play well defensively, limiting Bakersfield to nine shots during the period.
After Hensick’s goal, it was Brodzinski who broke open the third frame with a goal at 25 seconds. Forward Brett Sutter fed the puck to Brodzinski who quickly fired a backhander over Brossoit.
Following the win, the forward was happy with the team’s overall performance and resilient effort.
“I felt like we had a strong first and second,” explained Brodzinski. “It was a great game by Soupy [Jack Campbell]. Great game by him and a great game by all of our guys.”
“We need production from everybody right now. I think that’s one of things that everybody has been contributing lately. That’s why we’re getting some of these big wins.”
Though it looked like Campbell was on pace for the shutout, the Condors made a strong push and found the back of the net at 11:01. Kyle Platzer put home a rebound past an unsuspecting Campbell for his first goal of the season. Forward Ryan Hamilton gave Bakersfield a glimmer of hope at 18:39, trickling a shot between the pads of Campbell to trim the deficit, 3-2. It was short-lived as Ontario held on for their 12th win of the season.
When asked about the team’s performance, Head Coach Mike Stothers agreed with Brodzinski and Mersch.
“We were good. Regardless of how it played out, I was still happy with the way we played. I think that’s a good thing. It’s good for the guys. It was a really good 60-minute run from everybody.”
The Reign return to the road Sunday, December 18 at 3:00 PT against the San Jose Barracuda at SAP Center in San Jose, California. Catch all the action at OntarioReign.com!
Celebrate the holiday season with the Reign on Monday, December 26 against the Bakersfield Condors at 7:00 at Citizens Business Bank Arena. Meet your favorite movie princesses on Frozen Princess Night! Buy Tickets
Ring in the New Year with the Reign on Saturday, December 31 against the Stockton Heat at 6:00 PT at Citizens Business Bank Arena! Stay after the contest for a postgame indoor fireworks and laser Bowie and Prince tribute! The first 5,000 fans grab Ontario Reign clappers presented by Smart Solar Power. Buy Tickets
Become a “Fan” of the Reign on Facebook at Facebook.com/OntarioReign, join the conversation on Twitter at Twitter.com/OntarioReign and follow us on Instagram at Instagram.com/OntarioReignHockey.