Reign take over top spot in Pacific Division


The three-time defending Pacific Division champion Ontario Reign find themselves back in a familiar position this week. Ontario has won a season-high four consecutive games, and has gone 5-0-1 in its last six outings to move into first place in the division with an overall record of 19-10-6 for 43 points, one point ahead of Idaho.


Ontario opened last week with a 3-1 win at Stockton on Tuesday. The Reign spotted the Thunder a 1-0 lead before reeling off the final three goals of the game. Judd Blackwater scored a pair of goals while Geoff Walker added a pair of assists. Jussi Olkinuora earned the win in goal, stopping 24 of 25 Stockton shots.


The next night, the Reign once again rallied scoring twice in the third period to skate away with a 4-3 victory over Stockton. Four different Ontario players found the back of the net, with Rocco Carzo netting the game-winner on a power-play midway through the final period. Joe Cannata stopped 25 Thunder shots to pick up the win.


Saturday in Bakersfield, Ontario fell behind 3-0 in the first period, only to come-from-behind and win for the third straight game. With the score tied at 3 late in regulation, Tyler Scofield netted the game winner with just five seconds remaining to cap the Reign’s rally.


Returning home on Sunday, the Reign ended their busy week with a 3-2 win against Stockton. This time, it was Ontario getting off to a quick start as a pair of goals from Walker and a single tally by Gasper Kopitar gave the Reign a 3-0 lead after one. The Thunder scored twice in the third period, but Cannata kept them off the board from there to preserve the 3-2 win.


Veterans Derek Couture and Blackwater have paced the Ontario offense so far this season. Couture leads the team with 14 goals and 25 points while Blackwater is right behind him with 12 goals and 24 points.


In goal, Cannata ranks second in the league with a .926 save percentage and he is third with a 1.98 goals-against average.


After their busy week last week, the Reign hit the ice only once in the week ahead as they host Bakersfield on Wednesday.