Ontario, CA – The Ontario Reign (7-5-4-0) offense showcased their skills and power on Friday night, as they breezed past the Tucson Roadrunners (9-4-2-0), 4-1, at Citizens Business Bank Arena. Netminder Jack Campbell recorded his fourth win of the season and forward Joel Lowry registered two assists.
“I thought it was a great game, said Head Coach Mike Stothers after the game. “I thought it was probably the best game we’ve played from start to finish.”
Going into the game the Reign were in desperate need of an offensive showing, and they did just that, pulling through with an impressive effort against their Pacific-Division foe.
“I thought that we showed a lot of grit. We stayed with it. We battled through,” added Stothers. “We didn’t get frustrated by the ridiculousness of the way the game was called. We just persevered.”
Forward Brett Sutter kicked off the scoring at 3:56 of the first period, sneaking the puck past netminder Marek Langhamer off a rebounded shot from forward Sam Herr. Ontario continued to play with purpose, outshooting Tucson, 9-3 at the seven-minute mark before the Roadrunners evened the scoring. Forward Eric Selleck took in a pass from forward Mark Olver and fired a shot from the right circle that beat Campbell at 7:17.
The Reign wouldn’t score again until the second stanza when forward Michael Latta ripped in his first goal of the season at 13:13 on a give-and-go play from forward Andrew Crescenzi. Tucson peppered 11 shots throughout the period that were denied by a strong showing from Campbell.
Ontario added two goals in the final period to seal the victory. Forward T.J. Hensick jammed the puck past Langhamer at 2:12 for a 3-1 lead assisted by forward Michael Mersch and defenseman Vincent LoVerde.
With the goal, Hensick leads the team with seven goals on the season. Ontario continued the offensive outburst, and found the back of the net once again at 18:34 on a marker from forward Justin Auger. With the win, the Reign hand Langhamer (31 saves) his first loss of the season.
The game ended rather physically, with 44 minutes of penalties awarded during the final 28 seconds of regulation.
When asked about the physical finish, Coach Stothers defended his players.
“It’s good to see the guys stick up for each other. We’re a close team … We’re all tough. We’re all together and that’s most important. You want to be team tough.”
The Reign return to action tomorrow, Saturday, December 3 against the Charlotte Checkers at 6:00 p.m. at Citizens Business Bank Arena. Bring new or gently used stuffed animals to Saturday’s contest for Teddy Bear Toss presented by Smart Solar Power!
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