11/25 REIGN FINAL – Reign 4, Barracuda 2 – Sturm

Samuel Fagemo scored twice to register his fourth consecutive multi-point game and help the Ontario Reign (11-4-1-1) dig themselves out of an early two-goal hole for a 4-2 comeback win over the San Jose Barracuda (4-8-4) on Saturday afternoon at Tech CU Arena.

Goaltender Erik Portillo made the start between the pipes and stopped a career-high 42 shots for Ontario to earn his fifth victory in six appearances this season. Akil Thomas netted the game-winning tally for the Reign in the third period, while Brandt Clarke extended his point streak to nine games and captain TJ Tynan picked up a pair of assists.


The Barracuda broke through first, scoring just 2:37 into the game to break up Ontario’s lengthy shutout streak and take a 1-0 lead. The goal came off a shot by Jacob Peterson that changed direction and beat Portillo to his right.

San Jose added to their early lead at 8:09 of the opening period when Danil Gushchin knocked in a loose rebound that was free at the side of the net to make it 2-0.

Fagemo got Ontario back within a goal at 1:48 of the second, just after a Barracuda man-advantage ended. A shot by Tynan was deflected on goal by Fagemo, who then picked up his own rebound and wrapped it around the back of the net and in to get the Reign on the board.

Then late in the frame Fagemo evened the game with 1:52 to go in the middle period, scoring his second by throwing a rebound on goal that trickled in off netminder Magnus Chrona. Assists on the strike went to both Tynan and defender Tyler Inamoto, who was in the lineup for his first AHL game of the year.

The Reign took the lead for the first time at 1:37 of the third when Thomas buried a feed by Andre Lee on a 2-on-1 to make it 3-2 moments after Ontario had killed a penalty to Samuel Helenius for roughing. The tally gave Thomas points in back-to-back games and Lee his first assist of the season.

Clarke sealed Ontario’s fourth straight victory in the waning moments of regulation by hitting the empty net from near his own blue line for his fifth goal of the year. Assists on the final tally of the afternoon went to both Thomas and Mikhail Maltsev.

Neither team was able to score on the man-advantage in the contest, with Ontario holding the Barracuda to an 0-for-5 mark while the Reign finished 0-for-3.

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

Marco Sturm
On having to come from behind and playing better as the game went on
Yeah, for sure. Actually our first few minutes were really good and then we didn’t play our game pretty much for 18 minutes so they deserved to be up 2-0 in the first and we were just not good enough and we were a little bit flat too and then after that first intermission we came out much better and scored a goal right away so that always helps and got better and better till the end.

On the role the penalty kill had to have in the win
Yeah and they’ve been outstanding not just today, but for a while now. They’ve been really good. Our goalie was better too, he was in the same boat as all the players he got better and better too. So that always helps. There were some bad calls as well and then some we shouldn’t take but end of the day we can’t control that, only the penalties where we can control and that was definitely a big help.

On the play of Samuel Fagemo since he returned to the organization
He’s feeling it now and he’s having fun, and he knows it too. Like, I think he wants the puck more than in the past, especially on the power play and today it was nice to see him score five-on-five but you know, he’s not afraid to shoot because his shot is so dangerous. So, you know, we should give it to him all the time because he doesn’t need too many opportunities to get it in. As a forward that’s what you want, right? You want to feel good. You want to feel confident and right now he gets rewarded.

On if the organization’s system helps when there are lineup changes with new players coming in
It’s funny you mention that because that’s what I told my coaching staff that the experience I had with the Kings, it was the same. I think our structure, our system, the way we play, we take care of each other and it saves us a lot of times in different areas and it doesn’t matter who is in or out. I think now the guys are feeling it too. They feel comfortable with it. It doesn’t matter what we do so of course we miss them but we can play without them as long as you stick with the system.

The Reign return home to Ontario on Tuesday for a matchup with the Tucson Roadrunners at Toyota Arena with a scheduled start time of 7 p.m.

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