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 on the bus ride back (this time, to the team’s hotel where they’ll stay in Northern California). Here’s what he had to say after Sunday’s rebound win in San Jose.
Reign 4, Barracuda 1
Brett Sutter scored his first goal as a member of the Reign and the first line of Michael Mersch (goal, assist), Nic Dowd (goal, assist) and Sean Backman (two assists) took over as the Reign dominated the Sharks’ AHL affiliate a day after a tough OT loss at home to San Diego.
BUS TEXTS WITH STOTHERS
ORI: How important was the first goal and how happy were you to see Brett get his first?
Stothers: Sure it’s nice to get the first goal, but to me it’s more important that we got multiple goals. If scoring the first goal was the deciding factor in the outcome, we should just end the game immediately. No sense playing the rest if you can’t come back from a one goal deficit? We scored one last night to tie the game but one is never enough. Brett got us on the board with a great shot while in stride. Then we followed it up with some big goals by Mersch, Dowd and Auger. That makes it tough for a team to mount a comeback.
ORI: Can you talk a little bit about that first line of Mersch-Dowd-Backman, especially the way they dominated the night after an OT loss followed by the trip up north? They seem to be the line for now that you don’t want to shuffle up.
Stothers: That’s three very talented individuals that complement each other real well. All three are leaders on, and off, the ice. They have won a championship together and know how to raise the level of their play when the team needs them most. They are our go-to guys and they thrive on that kind of pressure.
ORI: So what’s next? Any team building planned for this week in San Jose? Surely the trip is off to a good start after tonight.
Stothers: Not sure what’s next. We are exploring various options as we speak. Tomorrow will be a recovery day, and we will practice Tuesday morning.