January 29: Bus texts with Stothers

After every Reign road game I’ll try to catch up with head coach Mike Stothers from the bus to get some texts and his assessment of the game. Here’s what he had to say after Friday’s 2-0 shutout win in San Diego.

Reign 2, Gulls 0
Behind a goal with six seconds left in the first period by Michael Mersch and Peter Budaj’s sixth shutout of the season, the Reign defeated rival San Diego for a second straight time. Jeff Schultz provided the other Reign goal on a power play tally in the second. Kings forward Kyle Clifford played his first game in his conditioning assignment with the Reign.

ORI: Thoughts on Kyle Clifford tonight?
Stothers: I thought Cliffy came in and gave us a solid performance. He knows his role and is very accepting of his responsibilities. He plays hard and physical. He is strong on the puck and along the walls. He is in great shape and did not extend himself because of excessive shift lengths. He is an NHL pro it was nice to see him back on the ice for some game action.
ORI: How big was Mersch’s goal late in the first?
Stothers: It’s always big to score a goal late in the period. It gives a great boost going into intermission and takes a little starch out of the other team. You can see the importance of playing out the clock until the final buzzer. They got a little sloppy on the outlet pass and Big Mike wasted no time getting the puck to the net before their goalie could set up. It was a big play but we knew it would be a long hard fought battle.
ORI: How’s Bissonnette, looked like he went down hard in third after Bickel hit?
Stothers: Biss is fine. He is at the back of the bus telling anyone who will listen how he went in and won the faceoff clean, in the second period. This will be one of the few times he voluntarily comes into my office to watch video, then he will want the clip sent to his dad.

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