The Ontario Reign struggled during their road trip to Victoria, dropping all three contests against the Salmon Kings at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. The Reign opened up the three game set against the Salmon Kings with a 5-2 loss Wednesday night.
Ontario struggled on the power-play all night. They could only muster up one goal on seven opportunities, including a condensed five minute man-advantage.
Victoria took the early lead. Ryan Turek and Ryan MacMurchy scored on ensuing power-plays in the first to put their team up 2-0.
In the second, Ontario’s David Walker dropped the gloves with Derek Couture after Couture injured Walkers teammate, Kyle Kraemer, with a knee-to-knee hit. Both players received five for fighting and Couture was assessed with another five minute major for kneeing and a game misconduct.
On the Reign power-play, Tim Kraus beat a Victoria defender before hitting Kraemer with a pass in the slot. Kraemer shot the puck on net and then buried his own rebound past Salmon Kings netminder David Shantz to cut the lead in half.
During the goal celebration, Kraus was sent off for roughing after he threw a jab at a Victoria player. Just as the Reign killed off the penalty, Chad Painchaud tipped the puck past Kellen Briggs to give the Kings a 3-1 lead.
Just under two minutes into the third period, Shawn Collymore blistered a wrist shot top shelf past Shantz to pull the Reign within one. The goal was Collymore’s 150th point of his professional career.
The Salmon Kings continued to pressure the Reign. Painchaud popped his second of the night past Briggs halfway through the third to put Victoria on top 4-2.
Milan Gajic added a fifth goal late in the third to put the Reign away for good and give his team the victory.
Briggs finished with 34 saves in the loss and Shantz turned aside 27 to get the win.
On Friday night, the two Western Conference rivals went at it again for round two at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. The Salmon Kings once again protected their house, doubling up the Reign 6-3.
Victoria got on the board first on the power-play. Matt Stefanishion put back a rebound past Briggs just four seconds in, putting his team up 1-0.
The Reign responded right back. C.J. Stretch picked up a loose puck behind Victoria’s net and fed it to Jordan Morrison who fired it past Salmon Kings netminder Riley Gill to tie the game up at one.
But the second period was all Victoria. They hammered the Reign with 18 shots and four goals in the period.
Kiel McLeod, Painchaud, Couture and Rob Hennigar all found the back of the net for the Salmon Kings.
After Painchaud beat Briggs to make it 3-1, Coach Taylor decided to pull his goalie in favor of backup Beau Erickson.
After going down 5-1, the Reign’s Luke Beaverson scored his first goal of the season. Beaverson blasted a shot from the point past Gill to cut the lead to 5-2.
Ontario tried to mount a comeback early in the third. Stretch scored his first of the season to bring the Reign within two.
After numerous end-to-end rushes, Victoria’s Rick Cleaver scored, ending the threat and putting his team up by three. The Salmon Kings slowed down the rest of the game to secure the 6-3 victory.
Erickson made 19 saves in his debut with the Reign. Gill finished with 21 saves in the winning effort.
Saturday, the squads squared off in their final battle of the three game series in Victoria. The Salmon Kings were able to complete the sweep over the Reign with a 4-1 victory.
Once again, Victoria struck first. Matt Sidall deked forehand, then backhand, to find the open net past Briggs, halfway through the first. However, Ontario answered back quickly in the second. Aaron Lewandniuk received a pass from Pierre-Andre Bureau and buried it past Shatnz to tie the game up at one.
Victoria took the lead right back two minutes later. Sidall was left all alone in front of the net and put home his second of the night.
Couture scored early in the third and McLeod added an empty netter to lock in the 4-1 win, sweeping the visiting Reign.
Briggs stopped 21 shots in the losing effort. Shantz made 35 saves to win his second of the series.
Victoria improves to 5-2 and second in Mountain Division. Ontario stands at 2-4-0-1 and are third in the Pacific Division.
The Reign now head back home to the Citizens Business Bank Arena to take on the Alaska Aces this Thursday at 7pm.