TUC 8, ONT 5 – Post-Game Recap & Reactions - LA Kings Insider

The Ontario Reign played in another high-scoring affair but fell for the fourth time in a row at home, this in regulation, in an 8-5 defeat against the Tucson Roadrunners.

Ontario fell behind early into a three-goal deficit inside the game’s first six minutes that it was unable to recover from. The Reign pulled to within a pair of goals four times (3-1, 4-2, 5-3, 7-5) but were not able to get any closer, conceding each time after moving within striking distance.

Tucson forward Conor Garland paced the visitors with five points (2-3-5), while forward Matteo Gennaro had a hat trick and forward Mario Kempe chipped in three assists. Forward Matt Luff paced Ontario with two goals and an assist, while defenseman Alex Lintuniemi and forwards Emerson Etem and Zack Mitchell also found the back of the net. On the positive/cool side, Etem’s goal was a beauty – spun around in the slot and whacked a moving puck out of mid-air in one motion into the back of the net.

For the Reign, the loss is their sixth in a row, their fourth in a row at home. The regulation defeat also snapped a three-game point streak at home, with the three prior losses coming in either overtime or the shootout.

A bright spot in defeat was the Ontario penalty kill – The Reign had previously conceded a power-play goal in each of its eight games, but was a perfect 7-of-7 tonight and the hosts also scored a shorthanded goal. The negative side of that stat is that the Reign took seven penalties, as Mike Stothers addresses below.


Mike Stothers

On his team’s inability to pull closer than two goals
We teased ourselves with thinking that we were coming back, and then, you know, we’d stumble again and find a way to give Tucson an opportunity that they capitalized on. You fall behind and you try to play catchup and it’s a slippery slope that you don’t come up. Another tough lesson learned.

On the Reign’s slow starts to games
Well, it’s frustrating to continually do that, but you’ve got to look at it like we’ve got a project here. There’s a team to build and there’s guys that are still feeling their way, so we knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but we’ve got to find a way to stop making it so hard on ourselves. It’s hard enough to win in this league to begin with. It’s not like we mean to do that, it just happens and it’s a part of the process.

On whether the slow starts are a physical or a mental problem
It’s got to be mental. You’re responsible for making sure that you yourself is ready to do your job, your assignments. We get caught napping or hesitant or forgetful or whatever it is and it usually costs you. But that’s why they’re in this league, that’s what they have to learn. In the NHL, you don’t get a second chance, you just get sent back down. So that’s what we’re dealing with and it’s a new thing for all of these guys. You get into it together and you get out of it together.

On the success of the penalty kill tonight
Well, yeah, you certainly want to find something to use as a positive, and I guess there’s the fact that they were 0-for-7, but the other side is that we took seven minors. That’s too many. Again, you talk earlier about flirting with disaster, you keep taking penalties and you’re going to get scored on. We weren’t moving our feet, we weren’t skating so we deserved what we got tonight.

via Ontario Reign

via Ontario Reign

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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.