Martin Chromiak gave the Ontario Reign (12-6-1-1) their first overtime win of the season and a split of the weekend home-and-home series with the Coachella Valley Firebirds (10-7-1-0) on a 4-3 decision Saturday night at Acrisure Arena.
The Reign had to come from behind in the third and did so on a game-tying strike by Tyler Madden with less than four minutes remaining in regulation. Samuel Fagemo and Alex Turcotte also added tallies in the victory, while goaltender Erik Portillo made 29 saves to earn his sixth win of the season.
Ontario took an initial lead at 9:12 of the opening period when Fagemo netted his team-leading ninth goal of the season on the power play to make it 1-0, one-timing a pass by Brandt Clarke past the blocker of goaltender Ales Stezka. Charles Hudon was credited with the second assist on the strike.
Kole Lind got the Firebirds even at 1-1 with a 5-on-3 power play goal at 3:28 of the second, tipping a puck into the net off a shot by Andrew Poturalski.
The Reign went back in front momentarily at 16:29 of the middle period when Turcotte banged home a rebound off a shot by Taylor Ward to make it 2-1.
But Lind answered 30 seconds later for Coachella Valley with his second of the game to even things back up at 2-2.
The Firebirds put Ontario on the ropes at the eight-minute mark of the third, taking their first lead of the game on a shot by Cale Fleury that made it 3-2.
While trailing, the Reign killed off back-to-back penalties to keep themselves within striking distance. Then Madden found the equalizer at 16:38 off a rebound of a shot by Clarke that was lose at the side of the net. Stezka was injured on the tying play and was unable to remain in the game which led to Chris Driedger coming on in relief.
Chromiak’s winner came off a 2-on-1 rush and a pass by Mikhail Maltsev at 2:40 of overtime. The helper was Maltsev’s 10th of the season.
Each team was able to come up with a single goal on the man-advantage during the contest, with Ontario finishing 1-for-3 while holding Coachella Valley to a 1-for-5 mark. Stezka stopped 27 shots during the first 57 minutes of action, while Driedger suffered the loss for the Firebirds.
Postgame thoughts from head coach Marco Sturm and Clarke are below, as well as the full highlights of the contest provided by Coachella Valley.
The Reign continue their schedule back at home in front of the Ontario faithful on Wednesday night when they battle the Henderson Silver Knights at Toyota Arena at 7 p.m.