The Ontario Reign (25-17-1-1) came from behind in the third period to force a shootout and secured a 3-2 win over the Bakersfield Condors (18-22-2-2) in the skill session at Mechanics Bank Arena Friday night. Samuel Fagemo, who had a goal during the second period, had the deciding goal in the fourth round of the shootout to give Ontario their first victory on the road in Bakersfield this season.
Martin Chromiak had the tying goal for the Reign in the third, while Cal Petersen earned the win in net by stopping 26 shots in regulation and another three shooters during the shootout. Petersen has now allowed two or fewer goals in five consecutive starts.
More from head coach Marco Sturm and Fagemo below.
The Condors had the lead at the end of a penalty-free first, netting the lone goal of the opening frame when Noah Philp was open in front and outwaited Petersen to make it 1-0 at 15:56.
Ontario’s best chance during the early part of the game was a wrist shot by defender Jacob Moverare from the left circle that hit the crossbar and stayed out.
The Reign came out firing to begin the second, piling up 11 shots in the first seven minutes to force Bakersfield on their heels. During the onslaught, Fagemo banged a loose rebound in the crease past the goal line and into the net to tie the game at 1-1. The tally, which was Fagemo’s 14th of the year, came at 1:35 of the second with assists to Frederic Allard who created the chance by taking the puck to the net down low as well as Jordan Spence.
Bakersfield responded quickly, however, to re-take the lead at 2-1 when Alex Peters fired a shot from the point that got through traffic and beat Petersen at 5:18 of the second.
The Condors took their one-goal lead into the third period, but Chromiak tied the game back up at 2-2 when he grabbed a rebound off a shot by Tobias Bjornfot and flung a low shot into the net, which had been vacated by goaltender Calvin Pickard who was searching for the loose puck. A second assist on the goal was credited to Aidan Dudas, who picked up his 13th helper of the season. Chromiak now has nine goals on the year, all of which have been scored since Jan. 8.
After the teams remained deadlocked throughout the rest of the third, the game headed to 3-on-3 overtime, where Ontario had the only two shots on goal generated during the five-minute bonus period.
In the deciding shootout, Bakersfield’s Seth Griffith converted in the third round to put Tyler Madden in a must-score situation, which he cashed in on to keep the game going. Then Petersen turned out Justin Bailey’s bid and Fagemo scored on a wrister to win the game.
Ontario outshot Bakersfield 34-28 in the contest, which included a 17-10 edge in the second period. The Reign did not commit a penalty in the game, but were also unsuccessful on two power play opportunities. Pickard finished with a total of 31 saves for the Condors in a losing effort.
On how he constructed the shootout lineup
I would say, obviously we know who the hot shooters are on our team, and who’s not, and then we’ve also got to play the field. There are some guys you feel really good about the whole night and that’s who you pretty much go with. Madden was an instinct. I knew Lias and Quine were going to go for sure. They won us the game in Coachella Valley. Unfortunately, they didn’t score so I had to pick one and I picked the right one.
On coming from behind to win in the shootout
We’ve had tough stretches of not coming back too, but now it feels so much better. The guys are not getting frustrated anymore. I think that that was part of it. We squeezed our sticks way too much and now we’re like, okay, we might have to score at the last minute and that’s okay. We still have to play our best game and play with our system, with details and make sure we’re going to play good enough without the puck to not give up anything. If you do that, chances will come. That’s what happened today.
On Tobias Bjornfot’s impressive game
It took him a little bit but then he was really, really solid. He was another guy who started to step forward instead of just waiting. Everything time [he and Spence] went out there, there was not much going on for the other team, so that shows that those two players are really, really good hockey players. They have been great all year, but today, Tobie was outstanding.
On having to grind out games against Bakersfield
We looked back to the previous games against them and at a couple other games they played, and they’ve been pretty good. They have won six of their last 10 games and they have a full lineup for the first time in a long time. They’re a really good hockey team and we know it’s not going to be easy against them, but it definitely helps when you’re not taking penalties against them. I give my guys credit. They hung in there after the first period and they fought back. That’s the way we have to play against them.
The Reign will be in Henderson to face the Silver Knights on Saturday with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m. PT at The Dollar Loan Center.