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Stockton, CA – Defenseman Paul LaDue recorded two goals and an assist to help the Ontario Reign (16-6-5-0) take down the Stockton Heat (16-9-2-1) 4-1 at Stockton Arena Friday evening. With the win, the Reign extend their winning streak to five games and take over first place in the Pacific Division for the first time since the start of the 2016-17 season.
Forward Michael Mersch put the Reign up 1-0 midway through the opening period with his sixth power-play tally and 10th marker of the season at 9:56. Mersch knocked in a rebound off the pads of Heat netminder David Rittich (L, 25 saves on 28 shots) from the top of the crease. Forward T.J. Hensick extended his personal point streak to six games (two goals, seven assists) with the primary assist.
In the second stanza, forward Sam Herr added to the lead at 4:32 snapping a shot under the blocker of Rittich from between the faceoff circles. Forwards Michael Latta and Joel Lowry picked up assists.
The Heat fought back in the third period and capitalized on the power play as forward Brandon Bollig slipped as loose puck past the right pad of Reign goalie Jack Campbell (W, 33 saves on 34 shots) at 7:56. The Reign reclaimed a two-goal lead moments later as LaDue ripped a shot over the blocker of Rittich and off the post on the man advantage at 14:58. LaDue completed the three-point performance with an empty-net marker at 19:59. Forward Teddy Purcell also extended his personal point streak to six contest (two goals, seven assists) with the lone assist.
The Reign finished the game 2-for-5 on the power play while the Heat went 1-for-5.
Ring in the New Year with the Reign tomorrow, 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
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