December 30: Bus Texts with Stothers - LA Kings Insider

Today’s Bus Texts with Stothers comes … actually not from the bus … because the Reign are flying out of Stockton early tomorrow morning before finishing out 2016 with this home-and-home against the Heat on Saturday night in Ontario.

Reign 4, Stockton 1
The Reign jumped out to an early lead on a rebound power play goal from Michael Mersch and secured first place in the Pacific with a win Friday night. Sam Herr scored from the high slot off a feed from Michael Latta in the second and the Reign took a 2-0 lead into the final period despite failing to convert on an elongated 5-on-3 late in the middle frame. In the first eight minutes of the third, the Heat’s Brandon Bollig buried a rebound of a long one-timer from the point by Kenney Morrison but the Reign responded with a power play goal of their own by Paul LaDue with just over five minutes left in the game. LaDue’s empty-netter with just one second left made it 4-1 and the Reign grabbed their fifth straight win off a 33-save performance by Jack Campbell.

ORI: Hey, Stutts. Congrats on the win and the move into first place. Five wins in a row too. What’s the biggest change you’ve seen as the group has been able to close out teams and get back on top/?
Stothers: It’s been a long hard battle. The division is so tight and every team in it is extremely good. It’s hard to move up and easy to fall many spots with just a couple of losses. The guys have been great about sticking to systems and playing their roles. They are a tight knit bunch and we always feel we are in the game no matter the score or the building we play in.
ORI: You get the late PP in the 2nd, can’t convert, and then Stockton gets their way back in it in the third. You answer onthe PP with the goal by LaDue. At that point of the game how crucial was it to convert?
Stothers: Should have converted in the second when we had a two man advantage for almost a full two minutes. We killed our own PP with lost faceoffs and turning pucks over on our entries. We could have put them in a huge hole but did not. As it turns out we managed to win but you can’t take the chance you are going to get more PP opportunities later in the game. Must learn to take advantage of the opportunity at present.

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Kevin Gravel

#4 | 6′ 4″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: DOB: 2/17/1996
Birthplace: KINGSFORD, MI
Position: D


Gravel made his NHL debut with Los Angeles in the 2015-16 season, skating with the Kings for four games before returning to AHL affiliate Ontario.

Rob Scuderi

#0 | 6′ 1″ | 212 lb | Age: 37

Born: DOB: 12/30/1978
Birthplace: SYOSSET, NY
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Scuderi is currently playing for the Reign while under contract with the LA Kings. He has won two Stanley Cups, once with the Pittsburgh Penguins and with the Kings.

Michael Mersch

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 225 lb | Age: 24

Born: DOB: 10/2/1992
Birthplace: PARK RIDGE, IL
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Drafted by the Kings in 2011, Mersch is currently playing forward for the Reign. Last season, he drew into his first NHL game for the Kings, where he registered 2 shots and 3 hits.

Michael Latta

#24 | 6′ 0″ | 207 lb | Age: 25

Born: 5/25/1991
Birthplace: KITCHENER, ON
Position: F
Handedness: Right


Prior to turning professional, Latta played major junior hockey in the OHL with the Ottawa 67’s and Guelph Storm. He was drafted into the NHL in 2009 and joined the King’s affiliate Reign in 2016.

Adrian Kempe

#09 | 6′ 1″ | 187 lb | Age: 20

Born: 9/13/1996
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Growing up in Swedan, Kempe made his hockey debut in 2014 in the Swedish Hockey League. He has since been drafted by the Kings, where he is playing for their AHL affiliate team, the Ontario Reign.

Brett Sutter

#07 | 6′ 0″ | 192 lb | Age: 29

Born: 6/2/1987
Birthplace: CALGARY, AB
Position: C


Drafted in 2005 by the Calgary Flames, Sutter was traded to the Reign in 2016. He is the son of LA Kings head couch Darryl Sutter, and the eighth member of the Sutter family to play in the NHL.