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Abbotsford Canucks

Reign Lose Two in a Row for the First Time All Season

Reign Lose Two in a Row for the First Time All Season

ONTARIO, Calif. – The Ontario Reign have been powerhouses all season, but they hit a bump in the road in this midseason back-to-back matchup with the Abbotsford Canucks, coming away with zero of four possible points as the Canucks take both games in regulation.

TUESDAY

The game started well, Adam Johnson opening the scoring with his first of the season and TJ Tynan with his 12th assist, leading the team in apples this season. The second period was all Canucks however, as they made it 3-1 off of goals from Phil Di Guiseppe and Sheldon Rempal on the power play. Ontario is no longer the owners of the league’s worst penalty kill, but at 29th of 31 teams, their penalty-killing units have some climbing to do.

Alex Turcotte scored his fourth of the season to make it 3-2 Canucks in the third, but the Reign were unable to get a tying goal and lost only their fourth game all season.

They continued to be plagued with minor penalties, after a strong game the previous weekend with only two power-play chances against Stockton on Sunday. They took 6 minor penalties against the Canucks, including a late-game 5-on-3 as Tynan took a tripping penalty before Brett Sutter took a goaltender interference penalty, elbowing Canucks goalie Michael DiPietro in the head on a shorthanded attempt. DiPietro finished the game but was unable to play the next night.

WEDNESDAY

The Reign started strong again in the second game, as Tyler Madden’s fifth and Martin Frk’s tenth goals of the season gave them a 2-0 lead early in the first. Frk, with a goal and an assist, continues to lead the team in scoring with 22 points, but has fallen from the top spot league-wide, currently coming in third, after Jack Quinn of Rochester and Andrew Poturalski of Chicago.

The rest of the period was all Canucks though, as first Sheldon Dries, then Rempal scored to make it 2-2 at the end of the first. Teams traded power-play goals in the second period, as Samuel Fagemo scored his seventh of the season and then Dries added a second tally to make it 3-3.

Tristen Nielsen scored his first of the season only three minutes into the third period to give the Canucks their first lead of the night. Though Gabriel Vilardi would tie the game at 4-4 with just over nine minutes to go, Dries completed his hat trick with under four minutes left in the third. This would propel the Canucks with the 5-4 regulation win.

Part of the reason for the Reign’s lackluster defense in these two games (allowing eight goals total and only scoring six) is likely due to the lack of Sean Durzi, who has been making the most of his call-up to Los Angeles. He’s scored his first NHL goal and added three assists for four points in his first three games. He sits second on the Reign in scoring with 16 points despite only playing 13 games so far this season.

Overall, it’s not a worrying set of games for the Reign. They’ve proven that they can outscore almost anyone on a good night, and they have more good nights than bad. They’re still third in the league in goals for and though they’ve slipped down to 14th in goals allowed, this is still a very good team pushing to make a strong impression at the playoffs this Spring.

COMING UP

The Reign are back in action this Sunday at Bakersfield to take on the Condors.

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