Staring down a 7-3 deficit against a team riding a 13-game winning streak, the easy route out would have been to lay down and take the loss with another crack tomorrow. To their credit, however, the Reign came out in the third with an inspired 20 minutes, scoring three goals to come back to within 7-6, but could not find the equalizer, despite several opportunities down the stretch, as they fell by a goal to Bakersfield.
The Reign started the game with a purpose, scoring twice in the first half of the first period to open up a 2-0 lead, as the streak ending in Ontario certainly looked like a possibility. Bakersfield, though, went on to score six straight goals, as well as seven of the next eight and five goals in the second period alone to take a four-goal advantage into the third period. Ontario made a goaltending change after goal number six, with Peter Budaj replacing Cal Petersen in net.
Whatever it was that spurred the Reign on in the third, the team came out firing as forwards Zack Mitchell and Carl Grundstrom scored 62 seconds apart in the first three minutes of the third period, to being the deficit down to two. Matt Moulson added his team’s sixth just past the halfway mark of the period to bring the Reign back to within one, but they could not pull closer.
Five goals allowed in the second period can’t be overlooked – The Reign saw a 2-0 lead become a 6-2 deficit in less than 15 minutes of game time – but the team’s fightback can’t be ignored either, something that Head Coach Mike Stothers touches on below.
The Reign will get another crack at the Condors tomorrow evening, with an opportunity to earn a split on the weekend. The two teams are scheduled to faceoff at 7 PM at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
Jonny Brodzinski on how he felt in his season debut
To be honest, the first two periods, it felt like I was kind of all over the place, just kind of trying to get back into the swing of things. Being by myself out there for so long, just conditioning and doing skill stuff by myself, it just doesn’t relate to the things on the ice when you’ve got five guys playing against you, I wasn’t playing against anybody.
On whether it was timing that was big to work on and get back
Yeah, it’s all timing. It felt like in the third period, it was just starting to click a little bit better, getting to my spots right away. First period, first shift, I just remember we dumped it in, Carl went onto the puck, I just went right down the middle and didn’t go to my far d-man, which I was supposed to do and I came back to the bench and I was like “why didn’t I do that”, it’s just like, it’s got to click again.
On his goal, the feeling of getting the first one and if it calmed him down a bit
Oh for sure. It’s always nice to get the first one. I’ve been waiting five months for it, so it helped. I mean, nice slapshot off the face [of Zack Mitchell] and got a fortunate bounce, had it land right next to me.
On the possibility of hitting the Reign goal record in his time on his conditioning stint
Yeah, I mean that would be huge and I’d like to accomplish that before I go back up for sure. But, I mean that just comes with the little stuff that we were doing on the ice, that created little opportunities, Sutts hit me a couple of times, one hit off the post and the other one just had an unfortunate little bounce a couple of those go in…..we’re kind of rolling now after that last period, so hopefully we can keep that going.
Alex Lintuniemi on the talk in the room heading into the third period
Coach just came in and said, like we all know we were having a little bit of a bad game there, but just go out and play and that’s what we did. We did pretty good and almost came back there at the end.
On the first 10 minutes tonight being like the win over San Diego on 2/6
We came real hard in the start and in the first ten and got two goals, but we just, we honestly just stopped playing and then they scored six real quick there. We turned it around, but you can’t give a team six goals quickly like that, basically in 15, 20 minutes.
It’s a good start and a good finish but we’ve just got to find a way to play a full 60.
On the team’s resolve to come back when down by 4
Yeah, obviously it means we have good charzcter in the room, but at the same time, you can’t let teams score that many goals in that amount of time, or in the whole game if you want to win games in this league. We’ve got to play better in the second.
Mike Stothers on what fell apart after the strong start and 2-0 lead
Well, Bakersfield’s a good team and they’ve just rattled off 14 in a row now, so there’s some good hockey players on the ice. They get down by two, it’s not that big of a deal. In the old days, you get two goals the game’s pretty much done. In today’s game, you see the end result, it ends up 7-6. It was 2-2, pretty happy with that going into the second and then they put up five goals in the second period, which is not good, but we just talked about, between the second and third, if you’re minus-3 at this point, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to sit there and sulk or are you going to make a statement? It’s a real good opportunity for the organization and the coaching staff to see how guys respond when things aren’t quite going their way. I was actually happy with the way the guys responded. I think that’s encouraging. The end result, no, but it could have gone a lot worse and it could have got really ugly. To their credit, they dug in and that’s what you want from your players and that’s what you want from the future players in the organization. There’s no quit and that’s a good sign.
On Brodzinski’s play and having him back in the lineup
It’s exciting for Brods, he was itching to play for all this time and you guys know how I feel about Brods, I’d welcome him all the time with open arms. I just love the way he plays and I love the way he shoots the puck. And he finds a way to score. Tonight, it wasn’t the typical bar down shot that you expect from Brods, but it goes in. There’s not a lot of guys that can just find a way to score and that’s what he brings. He looked good, I thought his timing might’ve been off a bit from game action, but I think tomorrow will be a good test for him and Wednesday will be even better.
On the defensive unit without MacDermid and the issues his absence creates
Let’s just say we were lacking some experience on the backend there tonight. We missed the big man. He’s a presence out there, he does a lot of things well for us, he’s pretty reliable, he’s a shot-blocking extraordinaire on the PK, but just his presence on the ice. When you look at our team, there’s a lot of minuses and Dermy’s a plus, so he’s quite capable in his end…he’s just a calming presence out there. That’s the way Dermy started, he was rough around the edges when he first came in and now he’s a little bit, I don’t know if you can use the word polished with Dermy, but he’s a little bit more experienced and that’s a good thing for him and for us. We were thinner there tonight on the backend and I think it showed at times.