There’s something about a Sunday afternoon matchup between Ontario and Tucson that brings out the excitement……the two teams squared off in a high-offensive, overtime thriller for the second time in seven days, with Ontario once again coming away with the two points via a 5-4 victory on home ice.
The two teams traded goals throughout, ending in Philippe Maillet’s overtime winner, capping off the first hat trick of his professional career. With the victory, Ontario moved to 9-8-2-1 on the season, with eight wins from its last 12 games played.
While there were no four-goal comebacks to be had this afternoon, as was the case seven days prior, the game featured tie games at 1-1, 3-3 and 4-4, with four lead changes, including three the way of the Reign. Maillet’s hat trick marked a professional career high in goals and a season-high in points, while snapping a 17-game scoring drought in the process, his first goal since October 6.
Forward Zack Mitchell also broke a scoreless drought (eight games) with his fourth goal of the season. Defenseman Kurtis MacDermid had a multi-point game for the Reign as well, scoring a power-play goal on a sequence where he was stationed in front of the net as a forward, using his 6-5, 230-lb frame to screen the goaltender and re-direct an Alex Lintuniemi shot into the back of the net.
Also of note – All six Ontario blueliners factored into the scoring with an assist on the evening, with MacDermid (1-1-2) and Matt Roy (0-2-2) collecting multi-point games and defenseman Sean Walker extending his scoring streak to six games. Forward Gabe Vilardi, skating in his third pro game, collected his first professional point, the only assist on Maillet’s second goal, which put Ontario ahead 4-3 at the time in the third period.
Today’s contest also marked one of the chippier Ontario games this season – The teams combined for 52 penalty minutes and 10 total power plays and they will square off in a back-to-back set next weekend in Arizona, capping off a stretch of four games out of six for the Reign coming against the Roadrunners.
The Reign’s trip to Tucson this week marks the first time this season they have visited the Roadrunners, with the first of two games scheduled for Friday, December 7 at 6:05 Pacific.
Mike Stothers on whether he felt Tucson underestimated the Reign at all
Nope, we’re a good hockey team, that’d be a mistake, to ever underestimate us. Standings don’t mean much, there’s not much difference between where we are and where they are. We’re now one point closer.
Gabe Vilardi on doing the smaller things and feeling more comfortable
Definitely. It’s three games in now and I kind of have a sense now of where I need to be and I feel comfortable out there.
On coming off of the back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday
Stockton definitely was the toughest of the three games, back-to-back it’s hard, I hadn’t done that in a while. When I woke up I was fine, but it was definitely tiring during the game.
On playing with different linemates
I mean, I don’t pay too much attention to that. I play with good players whoever I’m with, whether I’m on the fourth line or the first line it doesn’t really matter. I think we had a lot of chances tonight, obviously we couldn’t bury as many as we’d like, but we won so that’s what matters.
*Note – Had some recording issues and wound up with only one of Stothers’ post-game quotes