With the return of Jack Campbell the dust has settled a bit and the Reign now have two more experienced options in Campbell and Anders Lindback to choose at the goaltending position after the early roller coaster ride that was October and early November.
“We’ve got to get back into the routine and I’m happy to have Jack back and we’ve got Anders here,” head coach Mike Stothers said. “I think the position is getting stronger for us. And that’s no slight to anyone else who’s been in net for us, but you do need some kind of experience. I think they’ll help us.”
The only problem now is Campbell hasn’t played a full game in nearly three weeks and played in just one period during his recall with the Kings. Lindback, on the other hand, was in net for both losses in Tucson last weekend, his first two games since the NHL preseason. Stothers felt like Lindback was having to “fast track” his game. While both goalies are more experienced than say early-season starters Jonah Imoo and Jack Flinn, they’re both in a spot where they need more game action. For Wednesday’s game against San Antonio, Stothers has already chosen who will start.
“Well I had to stop and think the last time Jack played. So that’s tough,” Stothers said. “I told him today that he’s playing tomorrow. And I was like, when the heck did he play last? Texas. Right? That seems like an eternity ago.”
Campbell’s last start was in the Reign’s home opening win over Texas back on Oct. 21. He was pinned as the team’s No. 1 when Peter Budaj was recalled to the Kings, but everything is different now.
“I think we’ll let it play out,” Stothers said, adding that, “I would think there’s enough games left for Jack, Lindback and whoever else that they’re going to get some looks.
HOME AND AWAY
The Reign are just pit-stopping in Ontario this week again, but this time there’s at least at game to play and they’re practicing at their home arena.
The team came home from a three-in-three in Texas last week, but practiced at Center Ice in Ontario due to an event at Citizens Business Bank Arena. What was technically a five-game road trip is now over after last weekend’s back-to-back in Tucson. Stothers used the word “giddy” to describe the team’s vibe today just being able to skate at CBBA.
“It’s nice. We’re able to get out of the rink a little earlier, recover,” said forward Michael Mersch. “You just get away from the rink a little bit which is one of the benefits of pro hockey, is you know you have that rest of the day to yourself. When you go to the practice rink it’s kind of long days but we don’t think about it too much, it doesn’t really make a difference.”
The Reign face San Antonio on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. before again hitting the road to face Iowa and Rockford this weekend. It’ll be their first home game since Oct. 22 against San Jose.
“What was it, San Jose the last game?” Mersch asked. “Yeah, that does feel like forever ago. Especially when you go away. When you go away on the road it makes the months seem like they go by so much longer.”
Defenseman Damir Sharipzianov, who was recalled yesterday from ECHL-Manchester, was paired alongside veteran Rob Scuderi during practice, which indicates that D pairings from the weekend’s games in Tucson are likely to remain the same and those two will be out Wednesday.