Three third period goals broke a 2-2 tie and sent the Henderson Silver Knights past the Ontario Reign (34-31-5-1) by a score of 5-2 Friday night, spoiling Ontario’s regular season finale at Toyota Arena on Fan Appreciation Night.
Lias Andersson scored his 30th goal of the season and also assisted Tyler Madden’s 20th tally of the year in the loss for Ontario, while Jordan Spence picked up his 40th helper of the 2022-23 campaign.
The loss for the Reign, combined with a win for the Bakersfield Condors over the Coachella Valley Firebirds, has Ontario locked into sixth place in the Pacific Division standings with one game remaining in the regular season. The Reign will face either the Colorado Eagles or Abbotsford Canucks in the opening round of the Calder Cup Playoffs next week.
Henderson got on the board first at 12:34 of the opening period when a defensive zone turnover left Maxim Marushev open in front of Ontario’s net. Marushev was then able to deke around Cal Petersen to put Henderson on top 1-0.
The Reign responded late in the frame, however, when Andersson used a cross-ice feed to find Madden for a quick wrister that went in and out of the net in a split second to tie the game at 1-1. Madden’s goal came on the power play with just 1:20 to play in the first period and had a second assist from TJ Tynan, his league-leading 72nd of the year.
Ontario used another power play strike early in the second to take a 2-1 lead. Spence used a shifty move at the top of the zone to draw multiple defenders his way before dishing the puck to his left where Andersson wristed a shot under the glove of Isaiah Saville to put the Reign on top. This time it was Samuel Fagemo that earned the second helper on the goal, which came at 6:25 of the middle frame.
But after a lengthy delay due to a dislodged pane of glass, the Silver Knights sprung Sheldon Rempal on a breakaway that tied the game back up, 2-2, at 13:41 of the second.
Henderson then went back in front at 5:30 of the third when Byron Froese got control of the puck in the slot and wasted no time before turning and firing a shot to the top left corner of the net that put the Silver Knights up 3-2.
Gage Quinney tacked on another strike for Henderson at 8:53 before Brendan Brisson sealed the game with an empty net goal at 18:35 of the final period.
Saville finished with 25 saves for the Silver Knights to earn the victory, while Petersen turned out 21 shots in a losing effort for Ontario. The Reign held a slim 27-26 edge in shots on goal during the contest and controlled the special teams battle, going 2-for-3 on the power play while Henderson finished 1-for-2.
On his team making a lot of the same mistakes in multiple games
Yeah, unfortunately. We try every day to minimize the mistakes and of course they keep coming up. And, yeah, that’s just the way it is. I feel bad because it was our last regular season home game and we had a decent crowd and didn’t give them what they deserved. It was just not good enough. I thought we had a pretty good control of the game until that stupid lass went out and after that we fell apart and that just can’t happen.
On how the team can better respond from adversity within the game
I mean, that’s something as an individual too, you have to make sure you’re going to be ready to go. And they came out stronger than us and we were just not not there and all of a sudden we stopped skating and then they scored a goal too. I think it’s more individual, it starts with an individual thing and then you got to push yourself a little bit as a line too and as a team and it totally went the opposite way.
On the way his team wants to be playing heading into the playoffs
The good thing is we didn’t want to end it like this. So we have another crack at it tomorrow, hopefully for a better game so we feel better at least. But again, there’s a lot a lot of work to do and we can do it overnight, but we can minimize a lot of things and I still believe we have good enough players but also our best players are not our best players and our young guys are having a tough time right now. It’s not easy, but the good thing is it’s going be a new day tomorrow, it’s going to be a new game and we can prove ourselves again to have a better effort.
The Reign will finish their regular season schedule on Saturday night in Henderson against the Silver Knights at The Dollar Loan Center beginning at 7 p.m.
Rules for Blog Commenting
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.