Reign game breakdown
The Reign started their five-game homestand with a detail-oriented 3-1 victory over Stockton on Wednesday night. Jonny Brodzinski had the go-ahead goal, Mike Amadio scored as well to extend his point streak to five games and the Reign avenged a 2-1 overtime loss to the Heat last weekend. Head coach Mike Stothers stressed his team’s focus on details in this contest and the Reign answered in a game he categorized as a “hard-fought” one. Stockton’s Brandon Bollig scored first off faceoff win and a bang-bang play just six seconds in a power play midway through the opening period. The Reign answered minutes later on Amadio’s goal off a rush. “I just liked our composure,” Stothers said. “We got called for a few penalties, that didn’t seem to bother us. It was hard to find ice out there. It didn’t seem to bother us. Our focus was good. I thought everybody played well.” Brodzinski’s goal in the second stood as the game-winner and he assisted on an empty-netter by Andrew Crescenzi to seal the deal. Jack Campbell made 17 saves for his first win in over a month.
Stothers, on giving his team Thanksgiving Day off: “I didn’t tell the guys that before the game. In lieu of the [Craig] Cunningham situation, hockey is important to all of us but when you break it down it’s just a game. There’s certain times of the year when you should be spending time with family and friends and I think that’s important for the guys to enjoy a day, appreciate each other for whatcha got.”
–Jonny Brodzinski – Brodzinski was home with his family in Minnesota to mourn the loss of his grandmother from his father’s side earlier this week and returned to Ontario on Tuesday. With a heavy heart he delivered a memorable performance. “It was obviously pretty emotional coming off that last weekend,” he said. The emotions were channeled into points on the scoresheet. He smartly (and with accuracy) threw a turnaround slap shot from the right boards on net after a Michael Mersch shot was blocked on the way in and, in turn, Brodzinski completely caught Heat goalie David Rittich off guard. His forechecking pressure caused the turnover that resulted in Crescenzi’s empty-netter with 1:17 left on the clock.
–Mike Amadio – Amadio is 20, but he’s a “teenager” to Stothers, who had fun in describing the rookie’s progression: “You’re a boy when you play junior and you’ve got to learn to play like a man in pro. He’s making some real positive strides and steps to become a man.” Amadio’s point streak moved along with his goal off a rush with Sean Backman. As he and Backman weaved in and out, Amadio was the last with the puck and from the right wing he picked the high, short-side corner off Rittich just as a Reign power play expired. “I saw the goalie cheating a bit back door so there was space and I luckily found the back of the net,” he said. It’s a sign that his game is starting to translate at this level. “Definitely getting more confident with the puck and shooting it when I’m in areas to score,” Amadio said. His five-game point streak is the most by a Reign player since Nic Dowd’s six-gamer a season ago.
–Jack Campbell – Campbell’s boarded more planes and stayed in more hotels than anyone on this team this season due to the injuries at the position in the organization, but he looked settled and comfortable in his third win and his first since Oct. 21. His pad save on a shorthanded 2-on-1 on Linden Vey ignited the rush for Amadio’s goal and in what was Stockton’s fourth power play of the game, he absolutely robbed Andrew Mangiapane on a quick redirect at the goal mouth in the second period. “Got to make the routine saves, too, but you’ve got to come out of your boots. Soupy came out of his boots,” Stothers said of the save.
If Vey could have converted on the 2-on-1 the Reign would have fell in a 2-0 hole and instead Campbell’s save helped Ontario beat a speedy Stockton at their own game.
–3 – Minor penalties taken by Adrian Kempe.
Lineups and injuries
The Reign’s Michael Latta took on Emile Poirier after the faceoff following Amadio’s goal and both were handed game misconducts for fighting a puck drop, a new AHL rule this season.
This and that off-ice
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and if you hadn’t seen it yet, here’s a video put together by Joey Zakrzewski of the Reign discussing their Thanksgiving Day favorites. Mine? My mom’s pumpkin bread and green bean casserole.
The homestand continues on Saturday for game two of five as the Reign host San Jose in a 6 p.m. PT start.