The Ontario Reign is currently riding a five game losing streak, but still don’t feel the need to hit the panic switch just yet.
After starting the season 2-6-0-1, ranking dead last in the 19-team ECHL, Captain David Walker doesn’t feel any pressure.
“For me, I’m a big believer that when you have a letter or are in a position of leadership you don’t change who you are,” Walker said. “I just try to stay positive, lead by example, do a few little things that kind of help a team get over the hump.”
Coach Karl Taylor doesn’t believe his team should have any problem picking up their game. He knows what the team needs to do heading into a tough series with Alaska.
“Our game is loose,” Taylor said. “Our goal this week is to tighten up our game and change a few things. We need to be a better team.”
The Reign lost both games in Ontario last weekend against the visiting Aces. Thursday, the lone goal was scored on a defensive breakdown behind their own net. Saturday, they were tied heading in to the third period. However, they surrendered two quick 2-on-1’s that the Aces capitalized on, to put them away.
The Reign is struggling. They rank 15th on the power-play and 17th on the penalty kill. Their five points thus far has them ranked at the bottom of the ECHL standings.
But surprisingly, the Reign rank sixth in shots against, but 17th in goals against average. A stat that would normally suggest the goalie is struggling, but Taylor claims that’s not the case.
“Usually you’d analyze that as the goalies are brutal,” Taylor said. “Our goalie’s played really well. We’re giving up too many grade-A scoring chances – off the rush, those type of plays – and that’s our focus, lowering their scoring chances, being better defensively, also creating more on the power plays.”
Netminder, Kellen Briggs, is tied for second with eight games played and ranks third in minutes played with 443.
Taylor doesn’t believe the workload is a problem for his starting goalie.
“Our schedule’s been set up for one guy to play a lot,” Taylor said. “If you play three in three, it’s a little more challenging.”
The Reign is staying positive and not getting discouraged by their rough start. They know that they still have time to turn this season around.
“There’s still a lot of hunger,” Walker said. “Guys want to win. We don’t have bad apples in here, guys that don’t really care.”
The locker room seems to be intact and that’s great news for the Reign.
“The negativity isn’t there. All those things you look for, that at times with last year’s team might have been there, haven’t happened.”
The Reign will head to Alaska tonight to take on the Aces in a consecutive three-game series at Sullivan Arena.