March 9: Bus Texts with Stothers

After every Reign road game I’ll try to catch up with head coach Mike Stothers to get some texts on his assessment of the game. Here’s what he had to say after Wednesday’s massive comeback in San Antonio.

Reign 5, Rampage 4
Ontario scored three goals in a 1:25 span late in the third period, erasing a 4-2 deficit and winning on a slap shot goal from the high slot by Nic Dowd with 1:11 left in regulation on Wednesday. Tied 2-2 going into the final period, two goals midway through the third from the Rampage’s Alex Belzile had the Reign on the ropes, but they answered in emphatic fashion. With goalie Peter Budaj pulled, Jonny Brodzinski started the comeback on a shot from the top of the left circle that beat Rampage goalie Reto Berra with 2:36 left. Then, 51 seconds later defenseman Kevin Gravel buried a blast from the right point to tie it, that goal being his first since returning from the Kings. Dowd’s winner came after he intercepted an errant Rampage pass just inside the blue line. With plenty of time, the center wound up and netted his 12th goal of the season. Budaj finished with 21 saves and Berra countered with 24. Ontario (34-14-3-1) picked up all four points in San Antonio and will face San Diego at home on Saturday night at 7 p.m.

ORI: Was that the best comeback yet this season and what do you have to say about this group after that one?
Stothers: We have had some entertaining finishes, and comebacks this season but this one is far and away the most incredible yet! This group of guys never lay down their swords and admit defeat. The resilience they showed tonight is further proof of this team’s character and fortitude. Obviously we coaches are very proud of the entire group.
ORI: What was said on the bench and how did this just keep building? I mean, that’s three goals in 1:25.
Stothers: “Get a shot” pretty much sums it up. Listen there is no magic potion, or speech that transforms a team to come back like we did. We sure didn’t sit on the bench humming the Rocky theme song as a rallying cry. We just went back to work with a quiet confidence that comes with having done it before.
ORI: What do you think a win like this does for your team and maybe how does it instill fear in your opponents going forward?
Stothers: It is a reminder for us that you have to finish what you started. We let a 2-0 lead evaporate, and you must always play to YOUR potential, not to your opponent’s position in the standings. San Antonio is a good team that has been hit with hard injuries. We were fortunate that it worked out the way it did. We know we needed to put it away and we let it slip. That can not, and should not, happen to a team looking to go deep into the playoffs. We are happy it ended the way it did, but it put a little wake up call into us. Another lesson learned that will help us prepare for any future adversity.

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