Reign game breakdown
In what head coach Mike Stothers called a must-win home game, the Reign (3-3-3-0, .500) dropped their third straight and were handed their most lopsided loss of the season in a 5-1 defeat to San Antonio on Wednesday night. The highly-physical game really only got away from the Reign late but theme from start to finish was the heavy play and the 101 minutes in penalties that came with it. After goals in the first and second periods respectively by the Rampage’s Troy Bourke and the Reign’s Mike Amadio, the first of two notable hits took place. Kurtis MacDermid lined up Jim O’Brien and used his backside to deliver a crushing open-ice hit at the Reign blue line that took O’Brien out of the game. “He just came across the blue line and that’s a place where I want to try to stand up and make sure they don’t enter the zone easily,” MacDermid said. “It’s part of my game so I saw that and I took advantage.” The check resulted in Ryan Stanton immediately dropping the gloves with MacDermid and when penalties settled the Reign had a 2-minute power play. A slashing call on the Rampage’s Sam Jardine less than two minutes later after an elongated encounter with Justin Auger — aka another fight — gave the Reign a 5-on-3 in which they failed to establish offensive chances. The second period ended with the Rampage taking a 2-1 lead on an easy tap-in power play goal by A.J. Greer (more on that later). The third brought more hitting for the Reign and more goals for the Rampage. San Antonio made the deficit two on a goal at the 2:08 mark as Garry Nunn caught Reign goalie Jack Campbell way out of position on a cross-ice feed. On the next shift, Andrew Crescenzi hit Greer high in open-ice which resulted in the Reign forward being issued a game misconduct and a five-minute charging major. The Rampage converted on that power play, too, as a long shot through traffic by Matt Lashoff got through Jack Campbell. Nunn added a breakaway goal for good measure with 33 seconds left in the game. Campbell, who was playing in his first full game in nearly three weeks, finished with 22 saves on 27 shots.
Stothers, on what went wrong: “We had our opportunities too. We got a power play and then we get a 5-on-3, we never even register a shot. So, at the end of the day, you get 21 shots at home? We had some guys who had zero shots who had power play and are supposed to be offensive catalysts. You get what you deserve.”
–Garry Nunn – The 26-year-old forward who once played for the ECHL’s version of the Reign two seasons ago, scored his third and fourth goals of the season. He first was the beneficiary of a heads-up pass from fourth-line linemate Sam Henley. Henley whistled a cross-ice pass from the right boards to an unattended Nunn for the Rampage’s third goal of the game. His breakaway goal at the end of regulation was one of the more prettier ones of the affair as he deked a stick-less MacDermid on a 1-on-1 and made the same move around Campbell to score.
–Spencer Martin – Although the Rampage goalie faced just 21 shots, the Reign’s second-lowest output of the season, he and his teammates flattened the Reign’s AHL-leading power play as it went 1-for-5.
–Mike Amadio – The first-year pro is still getting his game under him but was able to score his first of the season by virtue of a between-the-legs/behind-the-back pass from Justin Auger. Prior to his goal, the fired up Amadio engaged in some after-the-whistle activities which he’s not too known to do.
Stothers said it himself that Sam Herr’s roughing penalty late in the second that resulted in the go-ahead goal was a game-changer: “That was a tough one. That was a bad penalty and every time you take a bad penalty it ends up in the back of your net. … If there was a turning point, which I know you guys all look for, that was probably the turning point.” Herr and Lashoff had been engaging in some pushing but a little more from Herr put him in the box.
–8 – The Reign were shorthanded eight times total and also had to kill eight minutes worth of penalties in the first 25:46 of the game.
Lineups and injuries
Defenseman Zach Trotman suffered an upper-body injury in the first period and did not return. Trotman engaged Duncan Siemens in a fight as a retaliation to his hit on Sean Backman in the first period. Stothers said following that game that is was likely the fall after the fight that caused the injury and added that it’s unlikely Trotman will travel with the team Friday for its weekend trip.
This and that off-ice
Stothers and assistant coach Chris Hajt, both Canadians, wore poppies in honor of Remembrance Day.
This one was just a pit stop and the Reign are going right back on the road this weekend to face Brett Sutter’s former team the Iowa Wild on Saturday at 5 p.m. PT. They’ll have one more stop in Rockford for a 2 p.m. PT contest on Sunday.