12/28 REIGN FINAL – Reign 3, Gulls 4 (OT) – Sturm, Moverare

A goal in overtime by Glenn Gawdin was the difference in a back-and-forth game Thursday, giving the San Diego Gulls (9-14-5-0) a 4-3 win over the Ontario Reign (15-9-3-1) in the fourth matchup of the season between the SoCal rivals at Pechanga Arena.

Brandt Clarke scored a goal and an assist for Ontario in a losing effort, while Samuel Fagemo and Samuel Helenius also found the back of the net for the Reign. Erik Portillo made the start for Ontario between the pipes and turned out 28 shots in a losing effort.


Fagemo put the Reign in front first, scoring on the team’s second shot of the game at 4:41 to make it 1-0. Assists on the opening strike went to the defensive pair of Clarke and Jacob Moverare.

56 seconds after Fagemo’s goal, Helenius added to the early lead by scoring his third of the season off a turnover in the Gulls’ end. Helenius sent a low backhand by goaltender Calle Clang to make it 2-0 and got an assist from defender Max Martin, who registered his first point as a member of the Reign.

San Diego responded in the second, scoring twice in the first seven minutes to even the game up at 2-2 on goals by Olen Zellweger at 1:13 and Josh Lopina at 6:15.

Clarke put the Reign back on top by a 3-2 score at 11:57 of the second when he let a wrist shot go from just inside the blue line that found the back of the net for his sixth goal of the year. Alex Turcotte, who returned to the lineup Thursday after missing five games due to injury, won the faceoff that started the play and was credited with the lone assist on the goal for his 15th helper of the season.

But Lopina found the back of the net for his second goal of the period before the end of the frame at 17:17 to knot the game up at 3-3.

The teams remained even on the scoreboard throughout the third, which featured 10 saves by Portillo as San Diego outshot the Reign 10-7 in the frame.

Both clubs had chances to win in overtime, with Ontario’s best look coming on a rush into the zone by Tyler Madden who was set up on a stretch pass from Moverare. After Madden’s bid was stopped, the Gulls won the ensuing faceoff in their own zone and fed the puck up the wing to Gawdin, who netted the winner with 23.2 seconds left on the clock at 4:36.

Each team also came up empty on the power play in the contest, finishing 0-for-2. Clang stopped 26 of Ontario’s shots in the San Diego crease to pick up the victory.

Marco Sturm
His overall thoughts on the game
It’s been creeping in a little bit in the last few weeks, not just today. It kind of continued, we were hoping to get out of it. But even after the first period, we were up 2-0 but we didn’t play our best game but still, we take that 2-0 lead and to give it away like that, it’s probably not good enough, right. That’s not going to win you any hockey games. So we’re still looking for a whole team, 60 minutes effort for a little bit and right now we don’t have it. So that’s why we were losing the game.

On the play of Moverare, who returned to the lineup after playing with the LA Kings
He was our best player today and he was great. He was Mo like we know him. He fit right in and played unbelievable. He gave us exactly what we wanted and what we needed and he is great. I know the Kings coaching staff they love him and you can see why.

On the return and play of Turcotte
He was great. You know, if you look at the forwards, he’s probably one of our best forwards. So, you know, he was great. We needed him. He does a lot of little things right. He’s not always on the score sheet but he does a lot of things right and I liked him a lot today.

On overtime and San Diego winning the faceoff battle
We were trying to switch it up and send some other guys in and I don’t know for some reason it didn’t help. Overall our faceoffs were just very average today. If you don’t win the faceoff, you start to chase and I can tell you that it’s not fun chasing the puck all the time when you lose a faceoff, so it’s definitely an area we have to get better. We have guys to do it, we just have to get it done every night.

Jacob Moverare

The Reign will play their final game away from home in 2023 on Saturday in Henderson against the Silver Knights at the Dollar Loan Center beginning at 7 p.m.

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