Today’s Bus Texts with Stothers come on a rare early week road swing where the Reign faced Tucson Monday night and will again on Wednesday.
Tucson 3, Reign 2
In a game where four power play goals were scored, the Reign at one point took five consecutive minor penalties and Tucson took the first of this two-game early week series. Jonny Brodzinski’s power play blast from the right circle (a set-up pass from Zac Leslie, who now has assist in the last six games) opened the scoring at 15:39 of the first period. All was right for Ontario in the opening frame as they controlled the tempo and outshot Tucson 15-6. Then, the second period offered a different look. The penalty parade started for Ontario and Tucson converted on a 5-on-3 on an easy tap-in for Chris Mueller as the Roadrunners moved the puck around the zone. Later in the period they took the lead on a shot by Henrik Samuelsson, also on the man advantage but off a faceoff from outside the Reign blue line. As Samuelsson entered the zone and fired through Rob Scuderi from the right side, goalie Jack Campbell couldn’t track the puck. Adrian Kempe evened the score at 2 in the third, another power play goal, this one a wrister from the left side on a nifty backhanded pass from the slot by Sean Backman with Justin Auger screening in front. The game’s only 5-on-5 goal was the game winner, a Zbynek Michalek shot from the left point that through a screen got by Campbell. As the Reign attempted to even the score, Kempe was hit high with a shot from Teddy Purcell and came off holding his ear. He did not return in the final 1:30 and change as Campbell was pulled in a last-ditch effort.
BUS TEXTS WITH STOTHERS
ORI: As far as the penalties and the discipline what are the best ways to get the players on track? Is it harder to address in-game especially in a rivalry game?
Stothers: We had everything under control in the first period because we were skating a drew penalties. Momentum changes when you take penalties and Tucson Power Play gets on the ice. Just like the other night in San Jose we take penalties and allow them back into the game by going down 3vs5. Penalties are game changers and tonight was a perfect example
ORI: With Mersch out of the lineup you had Kempe in his slot, how did you think he fared there with maybe some added responsibility?
Stothers: Kempe was good for us. Different element on the left side of Henner. Will try it again on Wednesday. I do like using him in the middle though. We have options with Kempe’s versatility
ORI: How’s he doing after that shot to the ear? Did you get a chance to see or talk to Kempe or get an update?
Stothers: He looks like Evander Holyfield after Mike Tyson thought his ear was a pork chop. Rest assured he was sewn up and will be back on the cover of GQ magazine as early as the next issue. No front on photos, only side poses for the time being. He is a Hockey Player, he will be fine!! Scars add character, and I should know, my face screams character. I do alright