April 9: Bus Texts with Stothers

It’s time for another edition of Bus Texts with Stothers, as we catch up with head coach Mike Stothers on the road back to Ontario to get his assessment of the game. Here’s what he had to say after Saturday’s 4-2 win in Bakersfield as the Reign swept a home-and-home against the Condors.

Reign 4, Condors 2
A Jonny Brodzinski goal at 1:21 of the third period gave the Reign their first lead of the game and they went on to win their fourth in a row. The Condors set the pace, scoring first on a goal by Josh Currie that was answered late in the first period by Justin Auger. Again in the second period the Condors took the lead on a finish by Philip McRae, but a power play goal by Adrian Kempe, his first since mid-March, tied it up. Late in the second and forced to kill a two-minute 5-on-3, the Reign prevailed, setting the stage to take the lead in the third. Kris Newbury continued his hot streak with an empty-netter and another assist. The veteran center now has six points in a four-game point streak.

Tim / IronSight|Design

ORI: Showed some more resiliency tonight with the 5-on-3 kill and finally taking the lead in the third, what was the key to get the win?
Stothers: It was a gutsy performance by everyone tonight. Killing off that 5 on 3 in the second period was huge. Two calls against us on the same play is extremely rare. It was made even more challenging because it was in the second period and that means a longer change for fresh killers. The penalties were on Schultz and Crescenzi two of our mainstays on the PK especially 3 vs 5. That being said, we kept our composure and went to work. Outstanding job by all, and of course some big saves by Budaj. That was a real shot in the arm for us and probably a kick in the backside for them.
ORI: What can you say about the rebirth of Newbury, I know you had been looking for more from him. And also must have been nice to see Kempe end his goal drought tonight as well.
Stothers: It’s been frustrating for both of them. It really weighs on a guy when you are a player that is used to getting points, and contributing on the scoresheet. If it goes on for an extended period of time they start to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. The only thing you can do is work your way out of it. Shoot more, and not less. Newbs has been moving his feet more and getting to the areas quicker. Kempe has been more physical, and hanging around the dirty areas for better opportunities. The bottom line is they are both far too talented not to produce. Sometimes it takes time and a few adjustments.
ORI: I know you like to treat games in segments, almost like a playoff series. Where does the team stand with that effort in winning this home-and-home? Is San Diego next weekend another mini-playoff in itself?
Stothers: We have completed nine 7 game segments. This last segment only has 5 games due to the 68 game schedule. The first round of the playoffs is the best three out of five. We have won the first three games of the segment and we approached it by concentrating on “attention to detail” the little things that determine the outcome. Working on being unflappable and maintaining a calm resolve no matter the situation. These things don’t just happen because they dropped the puck to start the playoffs. You condition the mind, and the body thru your play leading up to the second season. We are making progress but know that there is still much work to be done.

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