ONTARIO - The Reign began a stretch of four games in five days with a 3-2 loss to the Stockton Thunder on Wednesday and a new-look roster.
Robert Pearce came off injured reserve to make his season debut. Geoff Walker came back to Ontario from the Manchester Monarchs, the Kings' American Hockey League affiliate, and scored the game's first goal.
But the most surprising move came earlier in the day when winger Adam Henrich was informed he had been traded to the Cincinnati Cyclones for defenseman Jon Landry.
"I didn't think he was going to play hard enough, and stay underneath pucks, and (play) with a defense-first mentality," Reign coach Karl Taylor said of Henrich. "If you don't do that here, you don't play. Therefore we moved him."
The offensive skill of Henrich, a 6-foot-4 power forward, was without question. In eight games he had five goals and nine points, both second on the team. His four power-play goals were tied for the most in the ECHL entering Wednesday's games.
"Adam's going to get a lot of points in this league. He'll probably get 30, 40 goals in this league," Taylor said. "But I'm not going to sit here and watch the guy cheat above pucks. I couldn't get him to do it the way I wanted him to, so he was the odd guy out because of that."
The 25-year-old from Toronto had seen his ice time diminishing in recent games, but still was surprised to learn he had been traded.
"I wish I would have had a little more time," Henrich said. "There are a lot of good players in that room and I was excited to be a part of it. I'm going to miss it. It's easy to settle in in a place like this."
Landry, 25, began the season with the American Hockey League's Rochester Americans and appeared in just one game before he was released. In six games for Cincinnati, Landry had one assist and 13 penalty minutes.
An offensively gifted defenseman with size (6-foot-2), Landry split last season between Johnstown (ECHL) and Syracuse (AHL). He began his career the season before in Elmira (ECHL) after a four-year career at Holy Cross College from 2003-07.
"He's got good skills, he's a power-play offensive guy and he's a right (handed) shot," Taylor said.
"Hopefully he can help us."
As for the game, played in front of 4,503 at Citizens Business Bank Arena, it was the Reign's third hard-fought loss in four games to start their current homestand.
After Walker's goal at 10:27 of the first period, Stockton got goals from Colton Yellow Horn and James Bates to take a 2-1 lead.
The Reign's Jon Rheault scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season with 9:10 left in the third period to tie the game at 2.
The Thunder (4-4-0), out-chanced throughout the game and out-shot 37-20, got the game-winning goal after Reign netminder Mike Zacharias (17 saves) lost his stick at the side of the net. The stick was out of Zacharias' reach, and no teammate could pick it up and hand it to him before Stockton's Jordan Bendfield scored on a shot from the high slot with 52.3 seconds left.
Despite the loss, which dropped the Reign to 3-6-0 on the season, Taylor and Walker sounded optimistic based on the overall effort.
"We just have to keep building," Walker said. "If we keep playing like that, we're going to win a lot of games."