The Ontario Reign were handed another home loss at Citizens Business Bank Arena, this time by the Bakersfield Condors in a devastating 4-3 loss Wednesday night. The Reign seemed in control most of the game, but let it slip from their grasp in the final minutes as the Condors clawed their way back for a win.
Ontario grabbed the early lead just 2:18 into the opening frame. Defenseman Pat Bowen slid the puck to fellow teammate Lane Caffaro, from the blue-line and fired his a shot past Bakersfield goalie Peter Hirsch to give the Reign a 1-0 lead.
Late in the second Stephane Goulet found teammate Pascal Morency all alone in the slot and Morency blasted the one-timer low stick side past Onatrio goalie Beau Erickson to tie things at 1-1
The Reign responded back with their own power-play goal just minutes later, however, when Shawn Collymore hit teammate Chaz Johnson in the slot, who quickly snapped the puck past Hirsch to put Ontario ahead going into the second intermission, 2-1.
Just minutes into the third, the Reign were right back on the attack as Brett O’Malley came in on a short-handed breakaway and seemed to beat Hirsch bar-down blocker side. While the referee didn’t rule a goal originally, the Reign were rewarded with a 3-1 lead after the officials reviewed the play.
However, Bakersfield rallied right back, scoring almost two minutes later when Brendan Milnamow beat Erickson through traffic to cut the lead down to 3-2. Just a few minutes later, the Condors tied things up as Evan Stoflet exited the penalty box — after Bakersfield killed its first penalty on a 5-on-3 situation — and walked in all alone on Erickson and put the puck past the Ontario netminder to tie things up at 3-3.
Eventually Bakersfield took their first lead of the game late in the third when Vyacheslav Trukhno scored the game winner after he fired the puck through Erickson’s five-hole.
Erickson looked solid in his first appearance since being named starter. He recently took over the starting duties when Kellen Briggs decided to leave Ontario and sign with the Heilbronner Falcons of the German Bundesliga this past Sunday. Erickson turned aside 28 shots in the loss and Hirsch stopped 14 shots for the win.
The Reign welcome the visiting Utah Grizzlies to the Citizens Bank Arena on Friday, while Bakersfield will return home to the Rabobank Arena to take on the Idaho Steelheads that same night.