11/3 REIGN FINAL – Reign 3, Eagles 5 – Sturm, Hudon

Riley Tufte led the way with a hat trick for the Colorado Eagles (3-4-2) Friday night in a 5-3 defeat of the Ontario Reign (5-3-0) who suffered their first road loss of the season at Blue Arena. Charles Hudon had a big night for Ontario in a losing effort while playing against his former team for the first time, factoring on all three of his team’s goals with two tallies and an assist.

Hudon’s linemates also had busy nights Friday, with Martin Chromiak netting a goal and an assist and Alex Turcotte earning assists on all three Reign goals.


Colorado got on the board first after defender Sam Malinski picked up the puck behind his own net and skated it up ice on the left wing into the Reign end before launching a long cross-ice saucer pass onto the stick of D.J. Busdeker who beat goaltender Erik Portillo with a quick wrister to make it 1-0 Eagles.

Ontario answered back less than two minutes later when Hudon blasted the puck at the net from just inside the offensive zone blue line. The shot beat his former teammate, goaltender Justus Annunen through a screen to even the score at 1-1 with 2:41 left in the opening period. Hudon’s strike came with assists to Turcotte and Cole Krygier.

The Eagles took control of the game early in the second, finding the back of the net twice while shorthanded during a goaltender interference penalty to Jack Ahcan to move in front by a 3-1 margin. First, during a scramble in Ontario’s crease, the puck popped out to Tufte, who flicked it into the net for his first tally of the night to put the Eagles back in front. Then one minute later Henry Bowlby made it two goals for the Eagles on the same penalty kill by finishing on a breakaway opportunity.

Hudon once again responded for the Reign, scoring his second tally of the night to bring Ontario back within a goal at 3-2. The strike came off a deflection in front of the net at 12:34 on an initial shot by Chromiak and once again had a second assist credited to Turcotte.

Tufte found the back of the net for the second time while his team was on the power play at 7:52 of the third, giving Colorado a two-goal lead for the second time at 4-2.

But once again it was Hudon who kept the Reign in the game, taking the puck deep into the Eagles’ end and behind the net before centering it to Chromiak who was open for the finish. Chromiak’s second goal in as many games and third of the season came at 11:57 and cut the Ontario deficit to 4-3.

The Reign had chances to get back in the game late but were unable to find an equalizer. After Ontario called timeout with 2:11 left on the clock in a final attempt to set up a tying play, Colorado put the game out of reach when Tufte completed the hat trick at 18:37, scoring after his shot on goal was saved by the pad of Portillo and deflected past the goal line off a Reign defender.

The Eagles held a 38-25 shots on goal differential in the game and scored the only power play goal of the night, going 1-for-4 on the man-advantage. Portillo suffered the first loss of his rookie season, making 33 saves in the effort. Annunen blocked 22 of Ontario’s shots in goal for Colorado.

Postgame thoughts from head coach Marco Sturm and Hudon are below.

Marco Sturm
On the team’s play in the loss

It was just overall not a good game. It was not a good week. Some guys, yeah, some guys played their normal game but we had way too many passengers today and skill-wise, they were not the better team, but we got outworked really badly and that just can’t happen. Having two power play goals against and one penalty kill goal against was not good enough.

On the special teams being the difference in the game
I’m not going to point, but it is in our game and for our team it is a big deal. So every time our special teams are good we usually end up with a win but overall it was just not a good game. Again, there were way too many passengers like I said and we weren’t good enough.

On how the group can bounce back after losing its first road game
It goes back to attitude. It’s all it is. Sometimes in sports, it’s a mental game and if you don’t have an effort and a good attitude from the whole group it’s going to be hard. So we’re going to try to fix that for tomorrow.

Charles Hudon

The two teams will face off for a rematch on Saturday night in Colorado at Blue Arena beginning at 6:05 p.m. PT

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