The Reign home struggles continued as they lost to the Utah Grizzlies 1-0 at Citizens Business Bank Arena Friday night.
Ontario has had trouble at home, winning just one game in 11 chances. On the road, the teams fares much better, recording a 7-4 record away from the Bank for an 8-13-0-1 overall record.
“We got a good hockey club, just for some reason we are not clicking at home right now and we are just clicking on the road,” Ontario’s goalie Beau Erickson said about their slow start at home. “We will come together here. It’s just a matter of time. As soon as we turn that corner it’s going to be great for us.”
After a scoreless first period, Utah broke the tied game via the power-play with 7:23 remaining in the second period. The Grizzlies, Simon Ferguson, stationed himself in front of the Reign net and stuffed the rebound past Erickson, to take a 1-0 lead with the eventual game-winning goal.
“We give up one power-play goal and we do not score on the power-play and that’s the difference in the game,” Reign Head Coach Karl Taylor said. “At times I thought we played well, but we have to generate more and we have to score.”
Thirty seconds into the third period, Ontario’s James McEwan tried to spark something for his club. McEwan and Utah’s Nick Tuzzolino got the 6,491 in attendance roaring when they decided to settle their differences with the gloves off.
“He brings a lot of energy,” Taylor said about McEwan’s attempt to get his team back in the game. “He met the challenge.”
The Reign had their chances to net the equalizer late in the third period. They had three power-play opportunities, but could not generate any offense past Grizzlies goalie Jean-Philippe Lamoureux.
“Obviously it was huge. We lost the game. We did not score,” Taylor said about his team going 0-for-5 on the power-play. “We generated some good looks but we just did not score. We got to score. You are not going to win if you do not score.”
Erickson looked sharp in his second start of the season, making 33 saves in the loss.
“The first five minutes I was a little shaky but I felt like I settled in and played well the rest of the game.” Erickson said about getting the rare start.
Lamoureux was equally excellent, stopping all 26 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season and his seventh win.
“We needed to generate a few more shots but we never gave up and that’s a positive thing. It would have been easy to fold up, ten minutes left and things are not going our way, but we kept working and kept plugging away,” Erickson said.
The Reign will head to Bakersfield to battle the Condors in a critical contest at Rabobank Arena Saturday night. Ontario is riding a five-game road winning streak and hope to make it six in a row with Bakersfield only two points ahead of the Reign in the Pacific Division.
The Grizzlies will remain on the road as they take on the Stockton Thunder at Stockton Arena Saturday night.