The Ontario Reign earned their third point of the season as they skated to a 5-4 overtime loss on Friday evening against the Stockton Heat. Friday’s game was Ontario’s home opener in front of a crowd of 8,433 at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
Defenseman Kale Clague collected three points (1-2-3), including his first career professional goal. Forward Sheldon Rempal added a pair of goals in the defeat while forward Matt Luff also found the back of the net with a first-period tally. Stockton defenseman Oliver Kylington led the way for the visitors as he scored two goals and added an assist, while forward Tyler Graovac also tallied twice for the Heat.
“The outcome is not exactly what I wanted but I thought it was a fun game,” Ontario Reign Head Coach Mike Stothers said. “I enjoyed watching our guys play, so I guess that’s a good thing. The end result isn’t exactly the way it should’ve been drawn up but when you look at, we created what we did, good offensively, made some nice plays. We’ve still got to shore up a little bit defensively, but I think there’s a lot to work with here. I think that’s what I’m most excited with after this game is that there are some fun pieces to work with.”
Ontario and Stockton seem to like something about early scoring – After the teams combined for eight goals (4-4) in the first period last Saturday, the Reign held a 3-2 lead through 20 minutes tonight, totaling 13 goals between the two teams in the first periods alone.
The Reign are back in action tomorrow evening as they host the San Diego Gulls in the first edition of the So-Cal Series this season.
On scoring his first professional goal
Obviously it feels good to get my first pro goal but it was the home opener and we didn’t come out with both points, so it’s tough.
On his adjustment to the pro game
It’s different, pro hockey, it’s definitely a man’s game. Down low, guys are much bigger and stronger and you’ve got to play fast, especially at my size I have to play fast and get pucks moving up ice. I’ve just been trying to take care of my d-zone and cleaning up some areas I need to improve and know that the offense will come with time, I just want to play solid.
On feedback he’s received from Reign Head Coach Mike Stothers
Just getting back hard for pucks, I’ve been working a lot with the development team in LA, stressing getting back hard for pucks, getting my feet up ice, making plays and joining the rush.
On his game tonight
It was good to get the early one there, that always drives the confidence up a little bit, to get one in the first. We just need to build on that, I thought the boys came out and did a good job off the start but it was kind of unfortunate at the end.
On the importance of having confidence and what that first goal does for his confidence
I think it’s huge. With the player that I am, I think I have to be confident to be good. Obviously, I don’t think I was as confident as I wanted to be in camp but I’m here now in Ontario and looking forward to this season, working hard and trying to win games for this team.
On the communication with his teammates and linemates
It’s huge. I’m playing with two veterans with Mitchell and Sutter for he most part and [those guys], they do a great job of talking to me on every shift, telling me where to go and what to do definitely calms me down during the game. I definitely give a lot of credit to them. Sutter is the captain for a reason, he’s so good off the ice talking to you and stuff like that, so it’s been good.