J.P. Hoornstra, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
ONTARIO - Peter Lenes never surrendered his status as a fan favorite or ECHL All-Star, but entering this past weekend he also was a man without a goal over his last 22 games.
The Reign forward got off the schneid by scoring goals in back- to-back games Friday and Saturday against the Idaho Steelheads and admitted Wednesday, "It was a little bit of a relief."
"I've been missing some open nets lately," he said.
"I've tried to get back to some basic things, work a little bit harder in practice and regain focus. I just think it was a mind-set, executing some plays."
Both goals, Lenes noted, came in front of the net. It's not the easiest place on the ice to get to when you stand 5-feet-4 and there's usually one or two large defensemen waiting to knock you down.
Like his teammates, however, Lenes was awakened by a 7-0 loss to the Bakersfield Condors on Feb. 14. Additionally, the 23-year-old rookie was a healthy scratch earlier this month for the first time all season.
He needed to improve and he got the message.
"I think it was just an all-around mind-set," Lenes said.
He and head coach Karl Taylor downplayed the notion that opponents were keying on Lenes more recently than during the season's first 26 games, when Lenes had 11 goals and 18 points.
"He just wasn't playing well," Taylor said. "It was on Peter. He struggled for a while. It's part of the learning process; he's a young man trying to figure
"The first couple games of my slump, I started to miss some open nets," Lenes added. "That frustrates you a little. I wasn't playing my game at all; after you miss some your confidence goes down.
"I'm trying to get back to my game right now."
Forward Chris Curran, on injured reserve since Jan. 24, said he's close to returning from an ankle injury.
"I didn't want to rush it," he said. "I was close to going in last weekend, but I've been getting in a hard week of practice and hopefully I can go in this weekend."
Odds and ends
A postgame jersey auction Jan.30 raised $35,650 for the Inland Empire chapter of the American Red Cross. No total has been announced for Saturday's postgame "Pink at the Rink" auction.