The Ontario Reign (22-18-3-1) entered the third period in a 1-1 tie with the Calgary Wranglers (24-14-3-1) but were unable to get any other shots past goaltender Dustin Wolf and fell by a final score of 3-1 on Saturday night at Toyota Arena.
Taylor Ward netted the lone Reign tally in the contest for his fifth goal of the season, while defender Kevin Connauton recorded an assist for the fifth consecutive game and goaltender Erik Portillo turned out 27 shots in a losing effort.
The two clubs skated through a scoreless first period, with each posting a total of nine shots on goal in the opening frame.
Calgary went ahead with the first goal of the night at 5:15 of the second when Jakob Pelletier saw a shot deflect off of Tyler Madden and into the goal during a power play opportunity.
Ontario evened the score at 17:34 of the second when Ward beat Wolf with a wrist shot off a rush down the right wing. Ward’s look sailed into the top left corner of the net and had a first assist credited to Akil Thomas to tie the game moments before the second intermission.
But the Wranglers went ahead for good on a goal by Yan Kuznetsov at 14:52 of the third period which came on a rebound in front of the Ontario net after an initial save by Portillo.
Calgary added an empty-net goal to ice the game by Ben Jones at 17:16 moments after the Reign pulled Portillo in favor of an extra attacker.
The Wranglers finished 1-for-5 on the power play in the contest while Ontario was 0-for-2 with the man-advantage. Wolf’s 26 saves gave him his 18th win of the season for Calgary, who outshot the Reign 30-27 in the game.
Hear from Reign assistant coach Chris Hajt and defender Brandt Clarke postgame, who picked up his first career fighting major in the second period, dropping the gloves with Matt Coronato.
The Reign have hit the AHL’s All-Star break and will return to Toyota Arena to resume their schedule on Friday night at 7 p.m. in a matchup with the Henderson Silver Knights.