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

The Ontario Reign (29-17-2-1) never trailed but needed a shootout to defeat the Coachella Valley Firebirds (31-9-4-2) on Monday afternoon, winning by a final score of 3-2 to improve their record to 3-1-1 against the Firebirds in their inaugural season.

Aidan Dudas scored a goal and an assist in the victory for Ontario, while Samuel Fagemo scored the winning goal in the fourth round of the shootout and Cal Petersen earned the win with 36 saves during regulation and overtime and then stopped all four attempts he faced in the skill session.


More from head coach Marco Sturm and Dudas below.

Both teams opened the game by scoring a power play goal in the first period. First, a wrist shot by Dudas snuck through goaltender Joey Daccord and rolled to the goal line where Taylor Ward made sure it got to the back of the net to make it a 1-0 game for Ontario at 10:49.

The Firebirds then tied the game at 1-1 on their first power play of the day when Tye Kartye got his team-leading fifth goal of the season against Ontario with a quick top shelf wrister.

Ontario went back in front at 10:51 of the second when Dudas scored unassisted on a shorthanded breakaway to make it 2-1.

But Coachella Valley found another equalizer at 1:18 of the third when Max McCormick scored his 21st goal of the season to even things back up at 2-2.

The game remained even for the rest of the third, despite the Firebirds outshooting Ontario 12-5 in the frame. Petersen was up to the task on all the chances he faced down the stretch, forcing overtime.

After neither team could score a winner in the five-minute extra period, the game continued to a shootout. It was the second time these teams needed a skill session to decide a game this season, with the Reign claiming the contest in both instances. Fagemo’s game-winner made him the lone skater to score in the shootout.

Ontario finished 1-for-4 on the power play in the game, while the Firebirds ended at 1-for-5. Coachella Valley held a 38-29 edge in shots during the contest, with Daccord stopping 26 shots for his team in a losing effort.

Marco Sturm
On Samuel Fagemo’s shootout winner
He was waiting for it. He was probably hoping he’d get the chance to shoot. He’s one of the best of our shootout players and we’re just lucky to have him and lucky to pick him to shoot at the right time.

On Cal Petersen’s stellar performance
He became better and better as the game went on. Every period he got better and made some unbelievable saves, especially in overtime. Overall, what can I say? It’s always the same. He’s a great goalie. He’s been outstanding for us and we’re trying to get him back to the Kings and back in the NHL where he belongs. The guys work for him and again, since day one, he’s been a great teammate. He’s been a really good goalie for us and we enjoy having him every day.

On the importance of winning faceoffs and playing solid defense
First of all, there was a huge kill in the second period. We had to kill a five-on-three power play and won three faceoffs there with Thompson. We know they’re going to push hard and we know it’s not going to be easy, but even after the early goal against [in the third period] I thought we played really solid. We didn’t panic, we played our five-on-five game like we wanted to, and we deserved a point after 60 minutes for sure.

On Nate Thompson’s impact
He just calms everything down. He doesn’t really have to say anything. That’s just the way he is, and he won a lot of key faceoffs and he won on the PK. He doesn’t run around. He knows exactly where to go and when to go. Then, whoever is going to play with him, it’s usually easier for them to make reads. He’s a big part of our team for sure, especially with a lot of young kids in our lineup.

Aidan Dudas
On securing another win against Coachella Valley
It feels great. I think we play well against this team. Maybe it’s just because they’re ahead of us in the standings and we come out with a little extra energy, but we seem to play well against these guys and Cal played a really great game behind us. That was huge.

On his shorthanded breakaway goal
Spence rimmed it out of the zone and I got a lucky bounce of the d-man’s stick. I was kind of all alone from the red line in and I was just fake shooting and make the goalie slide. Then I tucked it in. Our kill was really good tonight and we’ve got to keep doing that moving forward.

On having Nate Thompson back in the lineup
It’s great. He’s a great penalty killer. He’s killed probably for his whole career and he won a lot of faceoffs. He’s just smart. He understands the game well, and he’s been around long enough, so it’s great to have him.

The Reign and Firebirds will be back on the ice against each other for a rematch on Wednesday night at Toyota Arena, with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m.

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