A breakaway goal by Rocco Grimaldi in overtime sent the San Diego Gulls (15-38-1-0) past the Ontario Reign (30-18-3-1) by a score of 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Arena. Ontario entered the third period trailing but tied the game to force the extra session on a power play goal by Samuel Fagemo.
Cal Petersen made 28 saves for the Reign in a losing effort, including multiple acrobatic stops during a scoreless second period. By securing one point from the overtime loss, Ontario moved into a three-way tie for third place in the Pacific Division standings.
More from head coach Marco Sturm below.
San Diego took an early 1-0 lead at 3:43 of the first period on a shot from the right point by Drew Helleson that found its way through traffic and into the Ontario net.
The two teams then skated through the remainder of the first and all of the second without either side able to change the score. Petersen shone in the early part of the game, stopping six straight shots in the first and nine consecutive stops in the middle period.
Fagemo finally broke through for Ontario with a power play goal at 1:25 of the third, one-timing a pass by Jordan Spence past goaltender Olle Eriksson Ek to tie the game at 1-1. Reign captain TJ Tynan also picked up his AHL league-leading 57th assist of the season with the second helper on the play. Tynan, who has 64 points overall, is now one point behind Tucson’s Michael Carcone for the AHL scoring lead.
With neither team able to solve the opposing netminder for the remainder of regulation, the game headed into overtime. Grimaldi converted at 1:09 of the extra frame, using a deke to his forehand to beat Petersen for his league-leading 27th goal of the season on the only shot of OT.
Ontario finishes its season series against San Diego with an overall record of 6-1-1 in eight contests, earning 13 of a possible 16 points against their Southern California rival.
The Gulls held a 30-22 edge in shots on goal during the contest, while the Reign had the lone power play goal of the game on their only opportunity of the night. Ontario also held San Diego to an 0-for-3 mark on their man-advantage. Eriksson Ek stopped 21 shots to pick up the victory for the Gulls.
On the way his team played in today’s loss
The second half, that’s basically how we wanted to play. But it was our fault, we were not ready to play. I think a lot of guys didn’t know it was a 3:00 game today and unfortunately we dug ourselves a little hole there and got behind 1-0 and yes we came back and we deserved the goal and that point, but overall it was just a disappointing game because there was more in there.
On if day games are tougher to get up for
Usually not. I don’t know, everyone is different but I used to love it. But it’s an individual thing and everyone has to get ready and prepare to be ready on time and we just weren’t. We only had a handful of guys and that’s just not good enough. I don’t care who you play against, you’ve got to bring it every night. If it’s earlier like tonight it’s even more challenging but it’s up to you, it’s up to the player and that’s something they have to learn.
On the play of Samuel Fagemo this year
He’s had some ups and downs, but he’s a shooter and he can score. He’s a good threat on the power play and sometimes I feel like we don’t even feed him enough pucks. It’s been nice to see that lately pucks for him go in the net and he’s a guy who we want to take the next step and there are still a few things 5-on-5 that he can do better but he’s a threat anytime he shoots the puck. That’s something you can’t teach, but now we’ve just got to work on other things.
The Reign wrap up their homestand at Toyota Arena on Wednesday night when they host one of the teams they’re tied in the standings with, the Abbotsford Canucks, at 7 p.m.