REIGN FINAL – Reign 0, Firebirds 4 – Sturm, Laferriere

Chris Driedger stopped all 25 shots he faced Friday night to give the Coachella Valley Firebirds (44-14-4-2) a 4-0 shutout win over the Ontario Reign (33-28-4-1) at Toyota Arena. Firebirds captain Max McCormick scored two of the team’s tallies in the victory.

Cal Petersen made the start in goal for the Reign and turned out 23 of Coachella Valley’s opportunities, while forward Alex Laferriere made his professional debut for Ontario after signing an ATO earlier in the week.


The Firebirds struck twice in the first four minutes of the game to take a commanding 2-0 lead early on in the contest. Coachella Valley converted on each of their first two shots on goal, getting a strike from Tye Kartye at 2:01 before a wrist shot by McCormick found the back of the net at 3:29.

The lead could’ve been wider by the end of the first period if not for Petersen, who stopped multiple high-danger opportunities for the Firebirds in the final minutes of the frame.

Neither team found the back of the net during the middle stanza, which was dominated by multiple man-advantage opportunities for both clubs. Ontario was unable to capitalize on a four-minute double minor for high sticking to Cameron Hughes at 6:51 of the period which helped them to an 8-7 edge in shots on net during the frame.

McCormick added to Coachella Valley’s lead at 5:21 of the third, cashing in to make it a 3-0 game with just six seconds left on a tripping minor called on Helge Grans. An initial shot by Brogan Rafferty was stopped by Petersen, but the rebound came right to McCormick who sent it into the goal for his second tally of the game.

Coachella Valley’s final strike of the night came from Jeremy McKenna at 9:13 of the third on a one-timer off a feed by Kole Lind on a 3-on-1 rush.

The Firebirds finished 1-for-4 on the power play in the game, while Ontario ended at 0-for-6 on the man-advantage.

Marco Sturm
On his team’s play in tonight’s loss
It’s our fault. We didn’t come up ready to play today and they did, and all of a sudden we’re down 2-0. We pushed back. We had power play opportunities and a bunch of them in the second period. Special teams was the difference today but it was not just that. The most disappointing thing was our start. Especially after the last game, we wanted to come out here at home and be full of energy and we were just flat. We couldn’t recover after that.

On moving Laferriere to the top line in his first professional game
I felt like he needed someone to play with a little bit. He’s a skill guy and he makes plays. He showed it in the first and second periods a little bit, so I thought to give him Tynan. Give him a little bit of a punch and he did okay. He just showed up yesterday, and it’s not easy for a kid like that. He was probably nervous too, but for the first game, he had a couple good opportunities and unfortunately didn’t score, but he definitely has something there.

On many of the younger players getting opportunities
We had some injuries all of a sudden today and some guys were out, so we tried to put some guys in where they can feel a little bit more comfortable. Gaunce has been great. He’s always been a good partner to any of those young kids, and Spence too. He’s not a young kid anymore, so he’s got to help them out and that’s what we’ve got. They get thrown into tough situations and we noticed as coaches and teammates that we have to help them get better every day.

On players like Krygier and Laferriere joining from college teams
I think there’s a little bit of a difference coming out of juniors and college. There’s still a ways to go but they’re definitely a little bit more mature and have a little bit more details in their game, unlike juniors kids.

Alex Laferriere
On skating in his first professional game tonight
It definitely took a couple shifts to get used to it. I mean, on my first shift there’s an unlucky bounce off my skate and it’s in the back of our net, so it definitely wasn’t a good start. I think after I got a couple of shifts in me, I felt good out there. It’s definitely a lot more physical [than college] but it felt good.

On skating with Lias Andersson and T.J. Tynan in the third period
They’re great players. They have all their points for a reason and it was good to play with them. They’re very welcoming and kind of talked me through everything. They’re definitely veteran guys and they’re good guys to learn from.

On the last few days and coming to California
The college season didn’t end how we wanted it to, but after that, I was just regrouping and then taking a bunch of phone calls. Then all of a sudden, I’m out here. The guys have done a great job of just coming in and showing me where everything is. It’s been fun but definitely a whirlwind.

On what led to signing his contract
The coaching staff at Harvard was great with me. I think we talked through everything and, for me, I felt as if I was ready. I wanted to push myself to the next level and that was kind of the decision.

The Reign are back in action on Sunday afternoon when they battle the Colorado Eagles for the second time this week at Toyota Arena beginning at 3 p.m.

Rules for Blog Commenting

  • No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other comments, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • Please do not discuss, or post links to websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.

Repeated violations of the blog rules will result in site bans, commensurate with the nature and number of offenses.

Please flag any comments that violate the site rules for moderation. For immediate problems regarding problematic posts, please email