San Diego, CA – With a bizarre start the contest, the Ontario Reign (2-3) ran into unique goaltending circumstances and fell to the San Diego Gulls (3-2) 4-1 in Game 5 of the Pacific Division Semifinals at Valley View Casino Center. The Gulls win the best-of-five series, 3-2.
With starting goaltender Jeff Zatkoff suffering an injury in pregame warmups and top netminder Jack Campbell (14 saves on 15 shots) not on the ice for pregame warmups, young goalie Jack Flinn (L, 8 saves on 11 shots) was thrust into the spotlight and provided early stops in a wild start to the game. The Gulls opened the scoring on the power play at 9:33 off a deflection from forward Nick Kerdiles on top of the crease of Flinn. Less than a minute later, defenseman Keaton Thompson made it a two-goal Gulls lead with a blast from the left-wing point. Forward Kevin Roy capped a three-goal burst in 2:37 with his first marker of the postseason at 11:40. After the tally, Campbell strolled out of the Reign tunnel to replace Flinn.
The Reign swung the momentum in the second period, rifling 16 shots on goalie Jhonas Enroth (W, 37 saves on 38 shots), but could not crack the veteran keeper.
In the third period, the Reign finally broke through off the stick of forward Brett Sutter at 8:12 with help from forwards Teddy Purcell and Jonny Brodzinski. Gulls forward Jordan Samuels-Thomas sealed the victory and the series for the Gulls at 14:20 with his first goal of the playoffs. The Reign finished the contest 0-for-4 on the power play while the Gulls went 1-for-2.
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