This edition of Bus Texts with Stothers comes on the 7-plus hour ride back from Stockton, but after an overtime win, it can’t be too terrible.
Reign 3, Stockton 2 (OT)
Newcomer Philippe Maillet stole the show in just his sixth game, scoring the overtime winner and assisting on another on Wednesday. The flashy headline for this game going in was the return of Adrian Kempe, Jonny Brodzinski and Paul LaDue, who were sent back from the Kings once their season ended. Not to mention, the Reign left behind many regulars to rest this one out. Kempe delivered. His follow-up of his wrist shot from the right circle made this game 2-1 at 7:48 of the second period. The Reign initially trailed 1-0 after the first on an early goal by Garnet Hathaway, but Mike Amadio scored the equalizer in the opening minutes of the second period. While Maillet pestered the Stockton defense he created a turnover that came free to Amadio who quickly backhanded the puck by Stockton goalie David Rittich. Kempe’s goal was also set up by Maillet as he took a one-touch pass from Zac Leslie and one-touched it on again to create room for Kempe, who was flying back into the offensive zone after a completing a backcheck. Stockton tied the game on a power play goal with 6:53 left as Andrew Mangiapane buried a rebound of a shot from the top of the point. But that just set up the heroics for the speedy, 5-foot-9 Maillet in overtime. The game-winning play started with Amadio poking the puck free to Maillet in the Reign zone but as Maillet skated the puck up the left side and waited for Matt Roy to catch up and create a 2-on-1, he kept the puck for himself and beat Rittich high at 2:11 of OT on the Reign’s first shot.
BUS TEXTS WITH STOTHERS
ORI: Your reaction to the type of game Maillet put together tonight?
Stothers: First of all the entire team played well. Kempe, Brods and LaDue came back and played like NHL players and took on a real leadership role. Hensick was our only vet and made the six hour trip without missing a beat. Maillet is making a real statement with his early play. He was very very good. Goes to the net, makes plays and what a shot for the game winner in OT
ORI: When you say that Kempe, LaDue and Brodz took on leadership roles, what did you like about their play? It did seem like Stockton was trying to get a rise out of them early.
Stothers: Their play made the statement that they were back, and that they were going to be the best players on the ice. Of course it got a rise out of Stockton, that’s the way that team plays. We knew with this line up we couldn’t match their physicality, so we out skated them. That’s what Juice, Brods and Laddy brought to the table. Skating ability and speed
ORI: The schedule is out now for The San Diego series. How do you like the idea of another home-and-home-and-home..?
Stothers: All good. Great match up. The atmosphere will be electric in both buildings. You could throw two nets in the middle of the 15 and it would still be great hockey…it’s the Reign, and the Gulls, in the playoffs!!!