The Ontario Reign (33-29-4-1) had an early lead on a first period goal by Lias Andersson, but the Colorado Eagles (36-21-7-3) came from behind with goals in the second and third periods to earn a 2-1 win on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Arena.
Eagles’ goaltender Keith Kinkaid stopped 27 of the Reign’s 28 shots on goal in the game, including all 21 he faced in the second and third periods to earn the win for Colorado. Ontario captain TJ Tynan had the lone assist on Andersson’s goal for his league-leading 66th helper of the season.
Ontario took their initial 1-0 lead at 16:38 of the first during a 5-on-3 power play opportunity that saw Andersson tuck the puck in from the side of the net past the left skate of Kinkaid. Andersson continues to lead the Reign with 28 goals this season, a total that is tied for seventh-best in the AHL. Seven of his tallies have come in the eight-game series against Colorado.
With Andersson’s goal and some acrobatic saves by Petersen, the Reign were able to carry their 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
But the Eagles tied up the game at 1-1 midway through the middle frame at 10:45 on a goal by Alex Galchenyuk just after a power play had expired.
Ontario outshot Colorado 11-9 during the second but were unable to put any other pucks past Kinkaid. Samuel Fagemo was the closest to doing so with a shot during a power play that hit the left post.
The game remained even until late in the third when Sampo Ranta scored the winning goal on the power play at 14:32. Just before the deciding strike, Tyler Madden had an odd-man shorthanded rush and Kinkaid made a save on a desperation dive on a rebound his the glove. The Eagles then immediately moved the puck up ice to Ranta, who beat Petersen with a wrist shot just inside the right post.
Ontario’s best chance to get back in the game came with less than four minutes remaining on the clock when a shot by Cameron Gaunce was deflected and glanced off the post, but the puck stayed out of the net. The Reign then had a power play chance with 2:40 to play and pulled Petersen for an extra attacker to create a 6-on-4 advantage, but again were unable to solve Kinkaid.
Overall, Ontario held a 28-25 edge in shots on goal, while finishing 1-for-5 on the power play. Colorado also scored once on the man-advantage, going 1-for-4 with an extra attacker on the ice. Petersen suffered the loss for the Reign despite turning out 23 shots.
On how today’s game compared to Wednesday’s loss to Colorado
We played a good game. We just wanted to have a better response from last game. We didn’t like the way we played [on Friday]. We came out better today. Overall, we had chances to win us the hockey game. Two individual mistakes cost us the game, and that’s the way hockey goes sometimes. Those individuals have to step up and get better because it hurts us as a team. When you play well, you deserve at least a point. Now, that’s something we’ve got to correct and try to move on.
On playing more physical and defensive
First of all, we wanted to play a much better defensive hockey game and that’s what we did. We gave up, basically, two PK goals. That shouldn’t happen, but that shows you that in five-on-five we actually did a lot of good things. That’s something we have to continue to get better at. Then, you’ve got to find a way to score, and not just on the power play. We’ve got to bury our chances.
On Laferriere’s second professional game
He played great again. For me, it feels like I can use him in any line, either top or fourth. It doesn’t matter. He was good again today. He doesn’t make many mistakes. He shoots a lot. He had really good opportunities today, but I thought for 40 minutes, he was really good. I think he ran out of gas a little bit in the third, but that’s something that can happen. I think we’re all happy to have him and I think he’s one of those kinds of players and the kind of person that will get better and better.
The Reign hit the road for a two-game series north of the border in Abbotsford next weekend against the Canucks beginning on Friday night at 7 p.m.