February 20: 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 and his assessment of the game via text. Here’s what he had to say after Saturday’s 4-2 loss in San Diego, a game in which a shorthanded Reign team (Adrian Kempe injured, Paul Bissonnette injured, Michael Mersch to Kings and Scott Sabourin and Zach Leslie to Manchester for conditioning), came up short.

Gulls 4, Reign 2
Matt Berry scored the game-winner late in the third period in what was a back-and-forth battle. When San Diego went up 1-0 in the second on a Brandon Montour goal, the Reign tied it 17 seconds later for Kevin Raine’s first of the year. Then, the Reign took a 2-1 lead 1:40 into the third on Nick Ebert’s shot from the point, ironically his first of the year as well, but the Gulls’ Joseph Cramarossa answered back 22 seconds later. San Diego took a lead they would not surrender on the goal by Berry, who stole the puck from Ebert, and then an empty-netter capped the evening.

ORI: Tough loss but you have to be happy about how the team battled with the shortened bench. What are the positives you take away from tonight?
Stothers: Losses are always tough but I thought we battled hard and competed despite playing shorthanded. Kempe was injured in last night’s game so we brought him along in case he was needed to serve a penalty. We lost Backman mid, to late, in the third so I am proud of the guys and their effort.
ORI: Saw that Kempe was hurt. What’s the situation with him — how and when was he hurt last night? Any update yet on Backman?
Stothers: Kempe was hurt last night in the first period when he got hit by Forbort who was stepping up to hit a Texas player. He finished the game but as with most injuries it was much more painful and stiff this morning. Hoping Backs will be back quickly but will know more on Monday. Tomorrow is a recovery day and Muirsy (the team’s trainer) will treat our injuries but a better evaluation will be made Monday.
ORI: What did you think about Berry’s game-winner and the breakdown in the D zone? Tough luck there for Ebert?
Stothers: As always it’s very seldom that it is any one thing. There is usually a chain of events that lead to a goal. This was no exception. We threw the puck around the wall, they read it and counter-pinched to keep it in. We had a chance at the opposite wall to get it out and failed again. To compound the problem we (Jordan Samuels-Thomas) slashed the opposition’s stick but broke our own in doing so. Then we (Ebert) had possession and dropped our stick. So now we have two guys defending in our zone without a stick. When something like that happens you take a penalty, or get scored on. Tough one to chew on when you are four minutes away from at least one point on the road.

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