By J.P. Hoornstra
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
STOCKTON, Calif. – It would be hard for the Reign to improve on their effort in a 5-1 win Wednesday over the Stockton Thunder.
In fact, it would be much easier for them to play worse on Friday, when the best-of-seven playoff series resumes with Game 4 in Stockton.
Coach Karl Taylor has seen it happen once before – in Ontario last Saturday, when the Reign fell behind 5-1 through two periods after beating Stockton the night before in Game 1.
“I think we learned a valuable lesson from the way we came out in Game 2,” Taylor said. “I wouldn’t say we were overconfident, but we’re young. I think we have 12 rookies in the lineup.”
Everyone – from the rookies on down to the team’s veterans – seemed to get the message Wednesday after a nice three-day layoff. The Reign allowed just one shot to reach goaltender Jeff Zatkoff the entire first period, then broke open a 2-1 game with three goals in the third period.
One of those came from veteran defenseman Shawn Germain (pictured), his third goal of the playoffs. In taking a 2-1 lead in the series, the Reign have gotten an unusual contribution on offense from Germain, a stay-at-home defenseman who scored twice the entire regular season.
“He’s not doing anything different – those are bonus goals,” Taylor said. “Since P.J. (Atherton) has come back, it’s creating more space for him.”