The Ontario Reign were officially eliminated from playoff contention with a 5-2 defeat this evening in Bakersfield. The loss marked the second lopsided defeat at Rabobank Arena in recent memory, with Bakersfield also holding a 7-0 victory over Ontario from earlier this month, with a 5-4 Reign win at home sandwiched in between.
On the positive side, forward Matt Moulson collected his 56th point of the season with the primary assist on Matt Luff’s second period goal, setting the Reign’s single-season franchise scoring record for points in a season. Moulson broke the previous record held by his brother-in-law, Sean Backman, who amassed 55 points during the 2015-16 season.
Things went South early for the Reign, as Bakersfield attacked early and often, walking away with a 3-0 lead, stemming from a 17-4 shots on goal advantage, in the opening period. The Condors got goals from Luke Esposito, Mitch Callahan and Logan Day, with the latter two coming just 59 seconds apart in the latter stages of the first period, with Callahan’s goal coming on the power play.
Bakersfield extended its lead to four goals 4:09 into the second period as defenseman Caleb Jones tallied his team’s second power-play goal of the night, walking in from the left point and beating Ontario netminder Cal Petersen on the glove side from the left-hand circle.
Luff’s goal, which came just under four minutes after Jones’ tally, got Ontario on the board and cut the hosts’ advantage to 4-1. Moulson took a feed from forward Philippe Maillet and fired on net from the right side, with his shot kicked aside by Condors’ netminder Shane Starrett, but Luff crashed the net and buried his tenth goal of the season.
Bakersfield added their fifth goal, with Esposito’s second tally of the evening late in the second period, before defenseman Cliff Watson concluded the scoring with his second goal as a member of the Reign 11 seconds from the final buzzer. Forward Drake Rymsha collected the primary helper on Watson’s tally, giving him a point in his first game back in the AHL, while defenseman Craig Wyszomirski also picked up a helper on the play. The Reign held an 11-2 shots on goal advantage in the third period but couldn’t pull closer than three. Goaltender Cal Petersen ended his evening with 24 saves for Ontario.
Ontario travels to San Jose this evening and will practice there tomorrow, before they face the Barracuda on Friday evening at SAP Center. Puck drop is slated for 7 PM.
Bus Texts With Stothers
On Bakersfield coming out strong, and whether it felt as if it took until the team was down 4-0 to get going
Get going? When the Hell did we ever have it going? We never once got going! Have you ever seen, or smelt, a baby’s diaper after you introduce it to solid food? It can make a pack of hyenas puke. That’s how bad we were on the ice tonight. Terrible from start to finish.
On whether there was any indication of a flat performance after a strong weekend
No indication what so ever. We had a couple of real good practices, the energy levels were good. For some reason when the puck dropped tonight our execution was poor? Even the most routine plays were foreign to us. No explanation for it, but it has happened to every team since the invention of the game itself.
On Matt Moulson setting the franchise record, and what he’s meant to the Reign this season
True professional on, and off, the ice. Great example for our young players. He takes an adverse situation, being loaned to us from another organization, and vows to prove their decision wrong. Loves his teammates and loves to play the game. Matt Moulson is a “solid” person and a Hell of a hockey player. We are very lucky to have him around our young, impressionable prospects