12/9 REIGN FINAL – Reign 2, Condors 1 – Sturm, Connauton

Two goals in a 26-second span during the second period were enough for the Ontario Reign (14-7-1-1) to defeat the Bakersfield Condors (8-8-0-1) 2-1 on Saturday night in the second night of a back-to-back series between the two teams at Mechanics Bank Arena.

Ontario’s tallies were scored by Charles Hudon, who found the back of the net for the third straight game, as well as Francesco Pinelli. Goaltender Erik Portillo made the start in net for the Reign and earned his seventh victory in eight starts this season by stopping 22 shots while lowering his goals-against average to 1.96 which is third in the AHL.


The Reign improved to 9-2-0 on the road this season where they’ve outscored opponents 36-21 and have a 0.818 points percentage which is second highest in the league.

Bakersfield took an initial 1-0 lead at 10:30 of the opening period just as an interference penalty expired to Brandt Clarke. Carter Savoie redirected a feed by Ty Tullio past Portillo for the opening strike.

But Ontario turned the game around with their offensive outburst four minutes into the middle frame. First, during a power play at 4:36, Hudon found himself open in the right circle and beat Condors’ goaltender Olivier Rodrigue with a low shot for his 10th goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1. Assists on the strike went to defender Brandt Clarke and forward Samuel Fagemo.

Then at 5:02 it was Pinelli who beat his man on a rush down the left wing and wristed the puck up high into the top of the goal to put the Reign on top 2-1. The third goal of Pinelli’s rookie campaign came with assists to Hayden Hodgson and Tyler Madden.

Ontario outshot Bakersfield 12-6 in the second period and came out with energy in the third, using a physical forecheck to keep the Condors chances to a minimum.

Portillo closed the door in the final frame, stopping all nine shots that came his way to seal the victory for the Reign.

Hudon’s power play strike was the lone man-advantage tally in the contest, with Ontario finishing 1-for-4 while Bakersfield ended at 0-for-3. Rodrigue finished the game with 25 saves in a losing effort for the Condors.

Postgame thoughts from head coach Marco Sturm and defenseman Kevin Connauton are below.

Marco Sturm
On the way his team played to respond with a win tonight
We were not happy yesterday just overall. Like I said yesterday, it was a weird game, no flow. But also we didn’t play good enough to win and today it was a totally different story. Even without Turcotte and some other guys, guys stepped up and it was a team effort from goalie, defense to offense. It was a good two points.

On Samuel Helenius, who returned to the lineup after missing the last two games
It was his best game. He looked really good. He won most of his faceoffs, he was strong, he was skating, he was responsible. I thought it was a good week for him and don’t forget, how old is he? 21? So we still have to work with him off the ice as well and that’s what we did this week, but he was really good today. Like I said, his best game by far.

On the play of Erik Portillo, who earned another win
He was really good. Really good. Gave us the saves and even though they scored early on, we didn’t like the goal against but after that he was he was dialed in and so far, I can can’t say enough. He battled, he’s a competitor, sometimes you have to slow him down but you know he showed up again today.

On the team’s penalty kill success in the win
Our sort-outs were way better. Way better. And that’s where all the confusion started yesterday. We were just a little bit off and we didn’t do what we were supposed to do. Everyone did someone else’s job and when you do that all of a sudden there’s big holes even in your PK and that’s what happened yesterday. We showed it today, Chris Hajt had a good meeting today and again, not just 5-on-5, 5-on-4 as well, we looked different today. They had a good power play. They made us work, they made us think, but overall it was a good kill for our guys today.

Kevin Connauton

Ontario returns home to continue its schedule on Wednesday night when they line up against the Henderson Silver Knights at Toyota Arena at 7 p.m.

Rules for Blog Commenting

  • No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other comments, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • Please do not discuss, or post links to websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.

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 zdooley@lakings.com.