The Ontario Reign had no answers for the Utah Grizzlies power-play unit that contributed five goals during a 7-3 blowout at Citizens Business Bank Arena Sunday Night.
The Reign struck first midway through the opening period. Already on the penalty-kill, Grizzlies forward Brad Snetsinger took a delay-of-game penalty for shooting the puck over the glass in the defensive zone. With two seconds left on the 5-on-3 power-play, Ontario forward C.J. Stretch soared down the right boards and centered a pass for the red hot Shawn Collymore. Collymore took the pass and fired a laser top shelf over Jean-Phillippe Lamoureux’s glove to take a 1-0 lead.
However, the Grizzlies came roaring back, scoring three unanswered goals on the man-advantage. Lamoureux caught the Reign in a bad line change when he rushed out to meet the dump in and fired a beautiful pass to Snetsinger waiting at the far blue line. Snetsinger came in on a 2-on-0 with teammate Chris Donovan on Kellen Briggs. The Grizzlies went tic-tac-toe and beat Briggs to tie the game at 1-1.
Just one minute later on the power-play, Utah struck again as Grizzlies forward Simon Ferguson passed the puck down low to Snetsinger. Snetsinger walked out in front and slid a pass over to teammate Brett Parnham who buried it, taking a 2-1 lead.
Two minutes later on the power-play, the Grizzlies scored again when Utah forward Tyler Ruegsegger walked out and snapped a shot low on Briggs. He picked up the rebound and found teammate Tim Crowder cutting to the net, and hit him with a one-timer that he blasted past Briggs to give Utah a 3-1 lead.
However, the Reign answered right back just 27 seconds later as Jeff Corey picked up the puck and skated behind the Grizzlies goal. He found Stretch stationed in the slot and hit him with a pass that he banged home to cut the lead down to 3-2.
On a power-play in the final minutes of the first period, Grizzlies defenseman Nick Tuzzolino ripped a slap shot through a screen and beat Briggs to give Utah a 4-2 lead into the first intermission.
Just 18 seconds into the second period, Utah came out and got another power-play goal. Grizzlies defenseman Ric Jackman snapped a shot from the point that was redirected by Parnham past Briggs for his second of the night, taking a 5-2 lead.
Midway through the second period, Parnham completed the hat-trick off a rebound from the end boards that squirted right back in front, taking a commanding 6-2 lead and chasing starting netminder Briggs out of the game. Briggs was replaced by backup Beau Erickson.
In the third, Grizzlies forward Marcus Carroll passed the puck to Jason Fredricks who took the puck and snipped a wrist shot short side over Erickson’s glove hand, cushioning the lead to 7-2.
On a 5-on-3 power-play halfway through the third, Ontario moved the puck around until Corey found an open Collymore who blasted a shot through traffic for his second of the night, beating Lamoureux and trimming the lead to the eventual final score, 7-3.
Briggs made 15 saves in the loss and Erickson made 11 saves in relief, while Lamoureux stopped 18 shots in the win. With the loss, Ontario falls to 6-10-0-1 and Utah improves to 11-4-2-1.
The Reign will be back on the ice Wednesday, when they take on Pacific Division rival Bakersfield at home. The Grizzlies will return to the Maverik Center to face-off against the Las Vegas Wranglers on Thursday.