After being shutout by the Las Vegas Wranglers the night before, the Ontario Reign finally got their first home victory at Citizens Business Bank Arena in a shootout in a 2-1 victory Saturday night.
Las Vegas got on the board first, halfway through the opening period when Wranglers forward Ned Lukacevic skated out from the corner on his backhand and shoveled a shot on net. His attempt was saved by Kellen Briggs, but fellow forward Tyler Mosienko found the loose puck and buried the rebound to give Las Vegas the early 1-0 lead.
Early in the second and already on the penalty-kill, Wranglers netminder Michael Ouzas took an unsportsmanlike penalty to put his team down two men. On the 5-on-3 power-play, the Reign wasted no time and tied things up just eight seconds into the two-man advantage. Ontario captain David Walker set the play up on the point then worked the puck down low to Jeff Corey. Corey took the feed and fired it across the crease to a wide open Jordan Morrison sitting backdoor. Morrison one-timed the pass into the open net, tying the game at 1-1.
Neither team could generate any offense in the third period, ending regulation tied 1-1 and forcing 4-on-4 sudden death overtime. In overtime, the Reign had a glorious opportunity on the power-play, but Ouzas robbed Morrison from his second of the night with a monster glove save. Then Justin Bernhardt received a breakaway pass after exiting the penalty box and came in all alone on Briggs with the game winning puck on his stick. Bernhardt deked to his forehand but Briggs came up huge, slamming his five-hole close and sending the tied game into a shootout.
In the shootout, Mosienko snipped Briggs low blocker to take a 1-0 lead. Dusty Collins answered right back when he deked to his forehand and fired one just above Ouzas blocker to give the Reign the equalizer. After Lukacevic missed his opportunity, Ontario’s final shooter, Shawn Collymore, came down and deked backhand, then forehand, and stuffed it in the back of the net and secured Ontario’s first home win of the season.
Briggs was solid in net, making 34 saves in his winning effort. Ouzas was equally great, stopping 26 shots in the loss. With the win, the Reign improve to 1-5-0-1 at home and 6-9-0-1 overall. The Wranglers fall to 9-4-1-1 with the shootout loss.
The Reign will be back home Sunday to take on the Utah Grizzlies at 5 p.m. The Wranglers will head to Utah to take on the Grizzlies Thursday at the Maverik Center.