REIGN FINAL – Reign 3, Firebirds 2 (SO) – Sturm, Chromiak

Martin Chromiak scored his first AHL goal, Tyler Madden added a shorthanded strike and the Ontario Reign (16-13-0-1) piled up a season-high 50 shots on goal in a 3-2 shootout win over the Coachella Valley Firebirds (22-6-3-1) on Sunday afternoon at Acrisure Arena.

The victory snapped a six-game losing streak for Ontario and ended a run of seven straight wins by the Firebirds. Lias Andersson and Alan Quine found the back of the net during the skill session while Cal Petersen made 30 saves to pick up the win in between the pipes.


More from head coach Marco Sturm and Chromiak below.

Firebirds’ netminder Christopher Gibson almost stole the game for Coachella Valley, turning aside 47 of Ontario’s shots in a losing effort.

CV took the lead immediately after the puck dropped to open the first period on a goal  off a deflection by Tye Kartye on the first shot of the game 17 seconds in.

The Firebirds took their 1-0 lead into the first intermission with a 15-9 edge in shots on net, but the Reign gained their footing as the period went on.

Ontario controlled play for most of the second, outshooting Coachella Valley 19-9 in the middle period. But once again Gibson held the fort down for the home team, stopping a breakaway opportunity for Nate Thompson and a penalty shot chance that was awarded to Chromiak.

The Reign entered the third still trailing by a goal, and once again gained momentum in the final frame and eventually broke through when Chromiak buried a feed from Thompson 2:30 in. Aidan Dudas, who retrieved a rebound off an initial chance from the point, was credited with the second assist on the strike.

4:25 later, Madden was set free on a shorthanded breakaway with a pass by Quine and roofed a backhand past Gibson to give Ontario its first lead of the day at 2-1 with 13:05 to play in the third.

The Reign had more chances to extend their advantage later on in the period, including a four-minute power play, but were unable to give themselves any extra breathing room on the scoreboard.

With just 2:58 remaining in the third, Coachella Valley’s Jesper Froden scored to even the game at 2-2 off a centering feed in front of the net.

Both teams had looks in the 3-on-3 overtime, including a shot from Firebirds’ forward Andrew Poturalski that hit the crossbar and was confirmed a no goal after video review so the contest headed into a shootout.

Petersen was perfect in the skill session, stopping bids by Kartye and Froden while the Reign went 2-for-2 with the tallies by Andersson and Madden.

Marco Sturm
On his team playing until the end and claiming a victory
I think the guys we’re in it today. There have been some ups and downs even during that stretch, I think we had some really good moments and also some bad moments and I think even in a stretch like this I think we deserve to win at least one or two, but we didn’t and that’s just hockey, that’s the sport and today we faced probably the best team in the league and we played well. We didn’t start well, but we stuck with it and we believed we can win a game here and that’s what they did. It took us a while, went to a shootout, but I think if you look at the shots and overall game I think we deserved to win today.

On what was different about today’s game than the recent losses
I think we had less mistakes. In the past a lot of mistakes can came from our sticks. We had some good periods and bad periods. I think it took us a little bit today to get us going but overall it was a solid 50-55 minute game and we stuck with it. In our past we always had a up and down game kind of kind of thing and I think that was different today.

On Martin Chromiak getting his first goal of the season
He’s a young kid. He has to learn too and he’s used to scoring a lot of goals and now he has to start from scratch again and it’s a hard League and it’s hard to score and for him he has to learn to0 and a game like today you don’t get too many opportunities. So if you have an opportunity to score you better put it in a net and that’s something he will have to learn and he will and he will get better but today, I think he had three chances to score a goal so that’s a lot for him and now he has to build on that and try to get better every day.

On what it’s like to face a team at the top of the division like Coachella Valley
Yeah and that’s why I think they were, I don’t know if nervous is the right word for it, but they waited for the first 10 minutes I think because they had maybe too much respect for the opponent because they’re a really good hockey team and they play really fast and we really have to be careful because one mistake could cost us a goal or even a game so I think that’s why everyone was alert today. Not just the losing streak, but also the opponent we played against because you have to be sharp every shift, every second, because good teams take advantage and maybe that helps us to be more alert as well.

Martin Chromiak

Ontario remains on the road and travels to Henderson for a matchup with the Silver Knights on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. and will then be in San Diego Friday night at 7 p.m. before returning home to face the Gulls on Saturday evening at 6 p.m. inside Toyota Arena.

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