REIGN FINAL – Reign 3, Silver Knights 2 (SO) – Sturm, Villalta, Bisson

For the second consecutive night, the Ontario Reign (26-17-1-1) scored to tie the game in the third period and prevailed in a shootout on a winning goal by Samuel Fagemo to earn a 3-2 decision. Saturday’s victory came at the hands of the Henderson Silver Knights (16-27-0-5) and featured Ontario goals by Martin Chromiak and Tobie Bisson prior to the skill session.

Matt Villalta got the start in net for the Reign and stopped 37 shots in regulation and overtime before turning aside all four shooters he faced in the shootout. Ontario claimed four points from two road games this weekend, won their third straight game and improved to 6-2-0 in their last eight contests.


More from head coach Marco Sturm, Bisson and Villalta below.

The Reign found themselves behind early after the Silver Knights found the back of the net on their first shot of the game to take an early 1-0 lead at 1:46 of the first on a shot by Lukas Cormier.

Villalta then stopped 15 consecutive shots for Ontario before allowing the second goal of the game in the final seconds of the opening frame during a delayed penalty. Jake Bischoff slapped a rebound that was loose in the crease into the cage with just two seconds left in the period to make it a 2-0 game.

But the Reign began their comeback in the second when Chromiak netted his 10th goal of the season with one second remaining on Ontario’s first power play of the night, one-timing home a cross-crease pass from Alex Turcotte down low. Alan Quine picked up the second assist on the goal, which was scored at 14:16 of the middle period.

Two minutes after Chromiak’s goal Ontario found themselves on the other side of a man-advantage situation as Henderson had a 5-on-3 power play for 1:02. The Reign successfully killed that Silver Knights chance, which featured four shorthanded saves by Villalta.

Bisson evened the game at 2-2 1:36 into the third period with his third goal of the year unassisted on a shot from the left point of the Henderson zone. With goaltender Jiri Patera screened on the play, Bisson wound up and fired a shot to the top right corner of the goal to give the Reign new life.

Ontario had three additional power play chances later in the third and outshot Henderson 10-5 in the final 20 minutes of regulation, but they were unable to beat Patera to take the lead.

The game headed to overtime where the Silver Knights enjoyed a 6-1 shots on goal edge, but Villalta turned out each look to force a shootout result for the second straight day.

Fagemo was the lone skater to score in the skill session after the first seven shooters came up empty, including Ontario’s Lias Andersson, Tyler Madden and Alan Quine, who had his bid hit the right post for the second time in two nights.

Overall, Henderson had a 39-28 shots on goal edge in the game with Patera stopping 25 of the Reign’s chances. Chromiak’s power play goal was the lone man-advantage strike in the contest as Ontario went 1-for-4 and held the Silver Knights to an 0-for-2 mark with their looks both coming during the two-man advantage in the second.

Marco Sturm
On tonight’s game
Overall, it was not a good game for us. I don’t know, it could have been from last night, it could be the travel, but we should still be better than how we played today. We didn’t have a really good start, and they were the better team. The second and third periods were much better, but still, that is not our standard. We will take the win, try to learn from it, and move on.

On winning consecutive games despite the team not playing at its best:
That’s important, winning those kind of games. I told the guys, sometimes you’re not feeling it, but you still have to find a way to win games and to try to push yourself to be the best you can be that night. Again, it’s something that we have to learn. We shouldn’t have been in that position today, going into the shootout, but I’m glad we came back the way we did and winning the shootout again. We’ll take the points, especially this weekend coming back from the break, so I’m happy.

On Matt Villalta’s night in goal
Matty was just like Cal yesterday. They both played outstanding the last couple of days and especially when the night doesn’t go that well, like today. We need good goaltending. Matty was well-rested and he gave us a chance and he also gave us the win and the two points. I knew him as a person [before the season]. He’s a very good guy, a happy guy, and he’s a good teammate, but I didn’t really know how he was as a player, and he’s been really good. I’ve been positively surprised at how calm he is in net. I think the guys can feel it too, so that’s good. I give him a lot of credit and he works really hard on his game. He wants to get better, so these kind of wins definitely help his confidence.

On playing with, playing against, and coaching Dustin Brown:
We watched the whole ceremony, us coaches. It was a very, very special moment for the organization, the team, and especially for him. I had the pleasure to play with him ten years ago and I also coached him as well. When I played in San Jose, I played a lot against him too. He’s a King. That’s why he got his jersey in the rafters today and for good reason. I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s just a good player and a good pro, who had to learn how to survive in that league and how to be the best. And he did it in a faster way by playing hard, playing hurt, playing tough, and was very proud to be an LA King every day. There’s not too many players who can say that, so it was really nice moment today and I’m happy for him, because he deserved everything. 

Matt Villalta
On tonight’s shootout win
It felt good. I just feel like its always kind of a fun thing or goalies, and to get in there tonight and with all the boys in the shootout. We always work on that in practice, especially at morning skates, and I love taking on guys one-on-one. It’s just fun. Tonight I felt confident and I just waited on the shooter, let him make the first move, and then react to it.

On quickly preparing for the shootout
I asked some of the guys questions. Maybe they’ll know some of the players who will be shooting and then ask for their tendencies, like tonight with Rempal. Obviously, he used to play with us, and Cal [Petersen] played with him quite a bit, and he said he might come down the left side on his backhand and shoot forehand. That’s exactly what he did. You get some info from some of the boys and then once you’re in there, like I said, its just a waiting game.

On gradually getting into the game
I think as a whole team, we kind of had a slow start. There should be no excuses. You’ve got to come ready to play every night, and I felt like as the game went on, the boys definitely picked it up. I think they had 17 shots in the first so that definitely always helps when you’re getting peppered with shots. You find your groove and your rhythm real quick, so after that first goal, I settled in very nicely I thought and then just went with the flow of things. Whatever came my way, I tried to keep out of the net.

Tobie Bisson

The Reign play the final contest of a three-game road stretch on Wednesday night in San Jose against the Barracuda at 7 p.m. PT.

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