Shel Segal, The Fontana Herald
The Ontario Reign hockey team began its season on a great note last week, and now the team is getting excited about its 2010-2011 home opener.
The Reign will play its first home game of the year on Saturday, Oct. 23 against the Stockton Thunder at 7 p.m. at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
On Oct. 16, the Reign got a strong performance from goaltender Kellen Briggs and six different players contributed goals, as the team spoiled the Thunder's home opener with a 6-3 win in front of 6,117 fans at Stockton Arena.
Shawn Collymore scored the Reign's first goal on its first shot less than one minute into the game. Jordan Morrison got control of the puck behind the Thunder net and fed a wide-open Collymore in the slot, who one-timed it past goaltender Tyson Sexsmith.
Less than two minutes later, Jeff Corey picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone with a head of steam, made a nice move to get past a Stockton defender and put a backhander through Sexsmith's five-hole.
In an effort to shift the momentum, Stockton's Jesse Gimblett picked a fight with David Walker, but the move backfired. Tim Kraus knocked the puck away from Thunder center Chris Lawrence along the left-wing boards. Kyle Kraemer got the puck and fought off two stick checks as he fired a shot through traffic that found the back of the net to make it 3-0.
The Reign scored two more unanswered goals in the second. Matt Delahey tallied Ontario's first power play goal of the season with a long slap shot at 1:32 and Chaz Johnson pushed home a rebound at 7:48 to make it 5-0. The Thunder began to put more pressure on the Reign as the second period went by and finally got on the board at 15:55 when Fraser Clair buried a long rebound past a sprawling Briggs to make it 5-1.
Halfway through the third period, Thunder goaltender Sexsmith appeared to not realize the puck was under his right pad and Aaron Lewadniuk took advantage to notch his first professional goal and give the Reign a 6-1 lead. The Thunder wrapped up the scoring with goals by Clair and Gimblett.
Kellen Briggs made 27 saves in the victory.
IN MORE HOCKEY NEWS, the Reign acquired rookie defenseman Pat Bowen in a trade from the Gwinnett Gladiators for future considerations.
Bowen, 25, played four seasons with Merrimack College (H-East), recording 43 points (4g, 39a) and 146 penalty minutes in 124 games with the Warriors. The Marshfield, Mass. native served as team captain in his senior year with Merrimack, finishing the season with a career-high 19 points (1g, 18a).
Bowen spent one year with the USHL's Chicago Steel prior to attending Merrimack, and accumulated 10 points (4g, 6a) and 70 penalty minutes in 60 games with the Steel.