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The Ontario Reign took on the Stockton Heat on Thanksgiving Eve and battled the San Diego Gulls in a home-and-home weekend series for a week record of 1-2-0-0 and an overall record of 11-4-2-0 to sit on top of the Pacific Division and stand second in the Western Conference.
On Wednesday, forward Justin Auger opened the scoring against the Heat 54 seconds into the game and forward Adrian Kempe buried the game-winning goal late in first period for a 2-1 victory. Goaltender Peter Budaj earned his 10th win of the season making 18 saves.
The Reign kicked off the home-and-home series with the Gulls on Friday at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. Forward Michael Mersch grabbed both Reign tallies, but the Gulls slipped away, 3-2. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak.
The following night at Citizens Business Bank Arena, the bitter rivals collided in front of a sellout crowd of 9,491 with the Gulls skating away with a 3-1 victory. Kempe buried the lone tally for the Reign midway through the third period.
Record: 11-4-2-0 (1st Place, Pacific Division, 2nd in Western Conference)
Last 10 Games: 6-4-0-0
Goals: Michael Mersch (11)
Assists: Sean Backman, Nic Dowd (12)
Points: Sean Backman (16)
Penalty Minutes: Ryan Horvat (44)
Power-Play Goals: Michael Mersch, Sean Backman (4)
Power-Play Assists: Sean Backman (6)
Power-Play Points: Sean Backman (9)
Shorthanded Goals: N/A
Shorthanded Assists: N/A
Shorthanded Points: N/A
Game-Winning Goals: Valentin Zykov, Sean Backman, Adrian Kempe (2)
Wins: Peter Budaj (10)
GAA: Peter Budaj (1.64)
SPCT: Peter Budaj (.934)
Forward Ryan Horvat is tied for second in the AHL with six major penalties.
Forward Michael Mersch leads the AHL with 82 shots and tied for third with 11 goals.
Forward Sean Backman and Nic Dowd are tied for 13th in the AHL with 12 assists each.
Goaltender Peter Budaj leads the league with a 1.64 goals-against average (GAA) and four shutouts, is tied for second with 10 wins and stands fifth with a .934 save percentage.
Forward Valentin Zykov is tied for second among AHL rookies with two game-winning goals.
Forward Adrian Kempe is tied for 10th among first-year players with 13 points (seven goals, six assists).
Defenseman Kurtis MacDermid is tied for third among rookies with three major penalties and stands second with 39 penalty minutes.
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