Despite holding a decisive 44-24 shots on goal margin and getting two tallies from leading goal-scorer Lias Andersson, the Ontario Reign (30-25-4-1) were bested by the Abbotsford Canucks (35-21-2-4) on Saturday night by a final score of 5-2 at the Abbotsford Centre.
The Canucks were led by goaltender Arturs Silovs who turned aside 42 shots, as well as Matt Alfaro who added two goals and an assist. Reign captain TJ Tynan assisted on both of his linemate Andersson’s goals in a losing effort.
More from head coach Marco Sturm and Cameron Gaunce below.
Neither team found the back of the net in the opening period, but Ontario controlled the majority of play and outshot the Canucks 12-5. Alan Quine was the closest a Reign skater got to finding the back of the net when he hit the right post with a shot from in between the circles in the offensive zone.
Abbotsford struck first at 2:05 of the second when Alfaro found the back of the net with a short angle shot through a screen to put his team up 1-0.
Linus Karlsson then added to the Canucks lead at 6:07, scoring off a counterattack 2-on-1 rush to make it 2-0 on a pass by Arshdeep Bains.
Andersson got the Reign on the board and back within a goal at 9:44 of the second when he found himself with room at the side of the net to wrist the puck top shelf and cut the Abbotsford edge back to 2-1. Assists on the goal were credited to both Tynan and Helge Grans.
But Bains converted on a shorthanded rush 45 seconds before the end of the second, cutting to the middle of the ice before beating goaltender Cal Petersen through the body with a wrist shot to make it 3-1 Canucks at the second intermission.
After just 28 minutes of play, the Reign had already equaled their shot total from 60 minutes on Friday (22). By the end of the middle period Ontario had a 33-12 edge in shots, which was boosted by a 21-7 advantage in the second.
The Canucks picked up where they left off at the end of the second, scoring twice more in the first half of the third to extend their lead to 5-1. Alfaro netted the fourth goal of the night for the home team, his second of the game, at 2:04 while Jett Woo followed that effort and scored on a backhand shot at 9:58.
Ontario was able to get back within three when Andersson earned his second goal of the contest on the power play at 13:19 of the third. His team-leading 25th tally of the season came on a redirect of a shot by Jacob Moverare.
Andersson’s man-advantage strike was the lone power play goal of the game, with Ontario going 1-for-4 while holding Abbotsford to an 0-for-3 mark. Petersen, who got the start for the Reign, finished with 19 saves.
On the game being different than Friday’s contest, even though it was a loss
Yeah, it was. We came out way different than last night and we had a lot of good chances and opportunities. When you have over 40 shots on net and you only score one or two then it’s going to be hard. We’d like to score more but we can’t allow five goals against and that’s our mistake and that’s what we have to get better at.
On working one issue out and then having another crop up
There’s always a why – why are those odd man rushes happening and again it was some individual mistakes we made and some team mistakes and those cost you. Unfortunately it seems like right now every little mistake ends up in our net, but somehow we still have to grind it out and still have to get better every day and there’s still some hockey left. There’s a lot of young kids who have never been in that position. It’s a challenge for all of us, coaches, players and we’ll try to get better again tomorrow.
On what the issue was defensively, even though they had 44 shots on Abbotsford
That happened today, but that didn’t happen yesterday. Yesterday we had half as many shots and there was no offense. Today we had a ton of opportunity but those little mistakes defensively cost us the game today. Every game is different but in general if you want to look at the big picture, in the games we’re losing right now it’s by making a lot of the same mistakes and we’re trying to fix it every day but we still have to work more and still have to do a better job so that’s the frustrating part.
The Reign continue their road trip with two more games away from California this week in Tucson against the Roadrunners. The next series begins on Tuesday night at the Tucson Convention Center at 7 p.m.