Mike Egener, Michael Pelech Each Net Three Points; Chad Starling Scores Game-Winner
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Ontario Reign, proud affiliate of the NHL Los Angeles Kings, defeated the Alaska Aces, 5-4, in the shootout on Wednesday evening before 3,681 fans at Sullivan Arena. The Reign played in their fourth consecutive shootout, after all three games in last weekend’s home stand against the Wranglers needed a shootout to determine a game winner.
Ontario opened scoring in the game at 4:39 in the first period, and netted their second goal just over a minute later. After Michael Pelech won the face-off, he snapped a pass to defenseman Andrew Martens. Martens fed the puck to defensive partner Mike Egener, who rifled off a slap shot that whistled past Aces netminder Scott Reid.
Just over a minute later, Sean O’Connor gave the Reign a 2-0 lead with a backhander from the top of the crease. Right wing Jon Rheault’s shot got caught up in traffic in front of the net, but O’Connor picked up the loose puck and fired it past Reid.
Greg Hogeboom and the rest of the Reign bench thought they had secured a three goal lead with less than ten minutes gone in regulation, but Hogeboom’s wrister that went low on Reid’s glove side was no good, as the officials called the puck off-sides.
Ontario goaltender Curtis Darling held the Aces at zero until 4:29 in the middle period. Right wing Anthony Peluso capitalized on an Alaska power play and poked a bouncing shot from defenseman Tyson Marsh over the goal line and past Darling to make it a 2-1 game.
With only 34 seconds remaining in the second period, Mike Egener scored his second goal of the night with a shot that just squeezed past Reid’s right pad and the goal post and over the line. Right wing Geoff Walker and Michael Pelech picked up the assists (the second of the game for Pelech), and the clubs geared up for the final period with Ontario leading Alaska 3-1.
Left wing Scott Burt claimed the first of three Aces goals in the third period with an unassisted shorthanded tally at 2:20. Merit Waldrop put the puck past Darling at 12:47 off assists from forward Brock McBride and Scott Burt, and Eric Boguniecki recorded an unassisted goal at 15:51. The Aces held their 4-3 lead until the Reign pulled their goaltender for the extra skater and Michael Pelech tied the game at 18:25, forcing a five-minute, four-on-four overtime session.
Neither club found the back of the net in overtime, so the Ontario roster faced its fourth consecutive shootout in as many games. Mike Zacharias replaced Curtis Darling in the crease for the shootout, and stopped all but one of Alaska's attempts. Defenseman Chad Starling’s wrist shot that slid neatly under Reid was the game-winning goal, and Ontario took two standings points with a final score of Reign 5, Aces 4 (SO).
To view the box score, click here.
To view current Pacific Division and league standings, click here.
1. ONT – Mike Egener
2. AK – Brock McBride
3. ONT – Michael Pelech
1. ONT – Sean O’Connor: NO GOAL
2. AK – Nick Mazzolini: GOAL
3. ONT – Jon Rheault: NO GOAL
4. AK – Eric Boguniecki: NO GOAL
5. ONT – Michael Pelech: GOAL
6. AK – Judd Blackwater: NO GOAL
7. ONT – David Walker: NO GOAL
8. AK – Brock McBride: NO GOAL
9. ONT – Chad Starling: GOAL
10. AK – Scott Burt: NO GOAL
On Friday, March 19th, the Reign will be facing-off against the Idaho Steelheads at 7:30 p.m. for the first match in a three-game, back-to-back home series. It’s also Farmer John 2-for-1 hot dog night and free oil change Friday sponsored by Certified Transmission & Car Care.
Saturday, March 20th is Military Appreciation Night, sponsored by the University of La Verne. The Reign players will be wearing specialty military jerseys that will be auctioned off immediately following the game, with proceeds benefitting the University of La Verne scholarship program. All military personnel can purchase specially-priced tickets (with valid military identification) by calling the Reign front office at (909) 941-PUCK (7825), this offer is not available at the box office.