REIGN FINAL – Reign 3, Condors 2 – Wroblewski, Turcotte

With a goal in each period from Brayden Burke, Austin Wagner and Austin Strand, as well as 25 saves by goaltender Garret Sparks, the Ontario Reign (3-0-0-1) bested the Bakersfield Condors (2-1-0-0) by a final score of 3-2 on Friday night at Toyota Arena.


Center Alex Turcotte earned assists on all three of his team’s goals in the victory, while defender Kale Clague posted two helpers from the back end. Each club scored once in a game dominated by special teams, with eight man-advantage chances for Ontario and seven for Bakersfield.

More from Head Coach John Wroblewski and Turcotte below.

A slow start to the first period saw the Reign fall behind when the Condors capitalized on a 5-on-3 man-advantage with a goal by Seth Griffith. But Ontario tied the game at 1-1 five minutes later with a power play goal of their own by Burke at 10:53, who sent a puck to the net that glanced in off a Bakersfield player. Assists on the play went to Turcotte and Adam Johnson.

The Reign only had four shots on net in the first but bounced back in the second and took the lead for the first time when Wagner raced down the right wing and slipped the puck past goaltender Ilya Konovalov, who was making his first career AHL start, to put Ontario up 2-1 at 1:56. Turcotte and Clague were credited with assists on the play.

The third period began with another Bakersfield power play, this time a 4-on-3 advantage after late penalties to Turcotte and Strand at the end of the second. Again, the Reign were successful at eliminating the Condors chance, and shortly thereafter during 4-on-4 play, Strand found the back of the net with a shot from the right point that glanced off Konovalov’s glove and in. It was the second straight Ontario goal that came with assists by Clague and Turcotte.

A tally by Ryan McLeod at 9:13 put Bakersfield back within one, but Sparks shut the door late in the game to preserve the win and record his first victory with Ontario.

With the Condors’ net empty at the other end, Wagner saw his stick shatter when he deflected away a chance and then got down to block a final attempt from the point just before the buzzer sounded.

It was the first time on the young season that the Reign were outshot, surrendering 37 chances on goal while putting 28 looks at the Condors’ net.

Ontario will conclude their season-opening five-game homestand on Saturday at Toyota Arena when they host the San Diego Gulls for Dia De Muertos Night at 6 p.m. PST.

John Wroblewski
On what he liked on Friday in comparison to his team’s performance on Tuesday

This one for some reason felt electric from the start, I guess like the way that we responded. I thought that the other day we never really found our stride and tonight I thought Bakersfield pushed really strong in the first, about halfway through that period after we got our power play goal I thought it was a much more even game and I thought we started to maybe tilt the ice a little bit. And then I thought in the second before the penalties started happening I thought we were very strong. We reloaded a few times in the neutral zone, but it was ultimately kind of a gut check game. I really liked our power play and our special teams in general.

On the play of Garret Sparks in goal
He’s calm back there. He uses that frame and I think that he’ll get better and better with the more comfortable he is in the net. I think you could say that for anybody, but for him being a positional style goaltender I think that reps are going to be key get him into the net as timely as possible.

On the play of Austin Wagner in the game, including his play at the end to block the final shot
I was really happy for Austin there. He gets out into the open at least once a game and drives that net and when he comes away with a goal it’s great for him because he does put in the work and gets that frame to the cage. It was a good bounce and if you get there enough times it’s going to happen for you. Anytime somebody sells out to block a shot, he really got two there, he got one that cracked his stick and then stuck his leg out there and got it with his ankle to save the game. Who knows if that shot gets through there were a lot of bodies at that net-front so great on him.

Alex Turcotte

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