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Nic Dowd scored late in the third period, but it was not enough as the Ontario Reign (28-12-3-1) fell to the Bakersfield Condors (22-18-2-2), 3-2, in front of a sellout crowd of 9,491 on Friday night at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
“We’ve been playing a heavy game,” said Head Coach Mike Stothers. “I like the way they play down low and take pucks to the net … the last two games we had 91 shots and we’ve had great scoring chances. We’ve been doing some things. It’s just not happening.”
The Condors struck early in the first period when Anton Slepyshev tucked the puck past netminder Michael Houser at 5:32. Ontario tied it up at 14:40 on the power play when Justin Auger scored from the top right corner for his 11th goal of the season. DefensemenVincent LoVerde and Jeff Schultz picked up the assists. Throughout the frame, the Reign dominated in shots, leading Bakersfield 20-7 at the end of the period.
In the middle stanza, both teams traded chances in the offensive zone with the Condors reclaiming the lead at 19:59 on a goal from forward Jujhar Khaira.
Forward Rob Klinkhammer potted his seventh goal of the season 19 seconds into the third period to extend the Condors lead to two. Ontario pressured hard in the final minutes of play and cut the deficit at 18:58 on Dowd’s goal from the point. Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff picked up the assist while forward Adrian Kempe earned the secondary. The Reign continued to tack on more shots into the final seconds, but came up short as time expired.
“You got to have guys that score goals,” said Dowd. “It’s not enough to have 50-40 shots in the net and not score, but I think we have all been playing really well.”
In the loss, Houser made 14 saves on 17 attempts, while netminder Anders Nilsson recorded 37 stops on 39 shots.