The Ontario Reign continue to struggle at home as the Las Vegas Wranglers deal them a crushing 7-3 loss at Citizens Business Bank Arena Wednesday night.
Ontario now stands with a 1-8-0-1 record at home and a 7-4 record on the road. They can not seem to figure out what the problem is with playing in front of their fans.
“We got to find a way to be better at home. It’s a weird thing. I don’t know what’s going on because our prep is the same; everything is the same as a road game. I don’t know what’s going on,” head coach Karl Taylor said. “We are 1-8 at home and we need to figure it out really quick.”
Las Vegas got on the board early in the first period, converting on two quick power-play goals from Jamie Bates and Matt Price in the opening two and a half minutes. The Wranglers added another goal minutes later when Dan Bertram beat Kellen Briggs’ blocker side to extend the Wranglers lead to 3-0.
“It’s very tough when you’re on a penalty-kill. You can’t get going. It’s very hard to get into the game.” said Ontario forward Chaz Johnson. “They obviously they got into it, they are scoring goals”
The Reign battled back and eventually popped in a goal halfway through the opening period, cutting down the early deficit. Dusty Collins gathered the puck in the neutral zone and came streaking down the left wing boards with speed. He cut towards the net and snapped a shot short-side past Las Vegas goaltender Michael Ouzas to trim the lead down to two.
Late in the second period and already down a man, Tyler Mosienko scored a shorthanded goal to give the Wranglers a 4-1 lead. Just as the Reign power-play expired, Justin Taylor fed teammate Jordan Morrison with a pass in front and Morrison buried it far side past Ouzas, cutting the deficit in half.
“Special teams killed us,” said Taylor about.
In the third, Wranglers defenseman Barry Goers, one-timed the puck past Briggs to extend the lead to 5-2. Minutes later, Johnson blasted a one-timer top shelf over Ouzas’ glove hand, bringing the Reign within two again.
“We came back, made a little bit of a push and closed the gap,” Collins said about the Reign’s effort.
But that was as close as they would come. Mosienko scored his second of the night late in the period and Geoff Paukovich added more insurance to give the Wranglers a 7-3 victory on the road.
“We were just bad tonight. We got what we deserved,” Taylor said. “We played like crap and we are just a bad team right now.”
Briggs made 13 saves in his 11th loss of the season and Ouzas stopped eight shots for his seventh win.
“You got to have a quick memory,” Collins said. “We got to pocket that loss and focus on tomorrow and the next day.”
Ontario will be back on home ice Friday night when they battle the Utah Grizzlies. Las Vegas will return home to take on the Idaho Steelheads at the Orleans Arena Friday night.