The Ontario Reign began their 2019-20 season one a positive note with a 5-0 blanking of the San Jose Barracuda.
The Reign got a 41-save shutout from Cal Petersen, who put in a fantastic effort between the pipes, and goals from five different players in the victory. Forward Brett Sutter opened the scoring and winger Martin Frk also chipped in a first-period goal. Forwards Rasmus Kupari and Lance Bouma tallied in the middle stanza, with forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan capping things off in the third period with the Reign’s fifth of the evening.
Overall, 12 Reign skaters tallied a point, with Anderson-Dolan (1-1-2) and forward Mario Kempe (0-2-2) collecting a multi-point night. The goal for Anderson-Dolan was the first of his professional career, while the tally for Kupari was his first in the AHL.
The Reign were the better side to start the game, as they scored three times in the first 20:22 of play. Petersen took the game over in the second period, however, as he stopped all 21 shots he faced as San Jose pushed back down by three. The Reign took control of the game in the third period, cleaning up their own end and getting the late insurance marker from Anderson-Dolan.
Ontario is back in action tomorrow evening, as it visits Bakersfield for the first road contest of the season. Puck drop is slated for 7 PM against the Condors.
Jaret Anderson-Dolan on his goal
Yeah, it was a power play and I was just trying to get in the goalie’s eyes and it got through, someho. It was just sitting there, I got a couple of whacks at it and I was lucky enough for it to go in.
On his overall thoughts on the game
I think as a team we had a really good start. Even with all the stuff that comes with the home opener, we had a really good start but we got away from that in the second, they were all over us. Cal made some unbelievable saves, he definitely kept us in the game. We turned it around a little towards the end of the second and in the third but definitely not the full effort we wanted, we want to put together 60 minutes and we didn’t do that.
On the confidence of having Petersen in net when the team does make a mistake
He’s probably one of the best goalies in the league. It showed tonight, some of those saves he’s making he shouldn’t be able to make and it’s definitely comforting to know you have him back there, but at the same time, you can’t be giving up some of those chances that we gave up. Without a goalie like that, those are in the back of the net.
Stothers on whether the second period was the best he’s seen from Cal
Oh boy. I don’t know, that was pretty darn good. We talked about it in between periods, we didn’t want to kid ourselves, Cal was outstanding. The game could have shifted very easily, he was solid, he looked square, he almost looked like he knew exactly what the other team was going to do before they were doing it. He was Cal-like.
On a change in philosophy between the second and third periods
I think we got a little bit sloppy with our puck management. We took a couple penalties and I don’t know if, the fact that we get some power plays early, it always seems to be that even up rule but we weren’t skating like we were in the first either so that had something to do with it and you had to think that San Jose had a push. I didn’t think our second period was as good as the rest of the game, but I thought the first and the third were real good and your goaltender makes saves like that, you’ve got a chance to win.
On how the power play looked tonight
I was happy with the special teams, for the most part I was happy with everything, outside of giving up…you don’t want to give up 40+ shots but that might be nitpicking, it’s still early. We’ve still got some guys that are feeling their way around, so I think the most important thing is we saw some good distribution throughout the night, guys contributing, getting on the scoresheet. I think it’s a good starting point.
On young players getting their first AHL goals early in the season
Well, it never hurts. The longer it goes, you tend to grip the stick a little bit tighter but that goes without saying for anybody. Everybody likes to score, but I think it was good. Those three guys in the middle, they played a lot. We went with seven D and that’s kind of the fourth spot open, in the middle. We just kept rolling them, putting them in those situation, with the exception of course of special teams, when we needed to put Bouma or Sutter in the middle, but we have the luxury of having those guys, they can play the middle, Kempe can play the middle, so I think it’s good.
On the 11F / 7D alignment and if it’s a look he plans to use regularly
It’s not the ideal situation, I don’t think anybody likes it, to play seven. Until we figure out what we’re doing, with nine, nine is a lot. We just felt that going into game 1, it was probably the most fair way to evaluate and see that position as well. No, I don’t see that going long term, nor do I really want to have that many…it’s down from 11!