2/23 REIGN FINAL – Reign 2, Firebirds 1 (OT) – Sturm, Dell, Moverare

The Ontario Reign (24-19-3-3) tied Friday’s game with less than a minute remaining in regulation and won in the final minute of overtime on a goal by Jacob Moverare, securing a 2-1 victory over the Coachella Valley Firebirds (30-13-5-2) at Toyota Arena.

Aaron Dell stopped 33 of the 34 shots that came his way to earn his first win as a member of the Reign, while Samuel Fagemo netted the tying tally in the waning moments of the third period.


The teams skated through the first 40 minutes without a goal on either side and entered the third in a scoreless game.

Coachella Valley went in front at 2:56 of the third on a goal by Ville Ottavainen, who let a shot go from the right circle that beat Dell over his shoulder.

Ontario battled back and had multiple looks to get even, including a power play with seven minutes remaining. But Firebirds’ goaltender Chris Driedger ended any bids at the net and kept the visitors in front.

Fagemo finally broke through and evened the score with 56 seconds to go in the third, blasting a shot from the left circle up and over Driedger for his team-leading 24th goal of the year. Joe Hicketts set up the look with a pass from the center point, while TJ Tynan recorded the second assist.

Tynan also set up the winner at 4:03 of overtime when he dropped the puck off to Moverare in the offensive zone. The blueliner sent a wrist shot through the blocker side of Driedger for his second goal of the season, both of which have come against Coachella Valley in Ontario.

Driedger stopped 31 shots in a losing effort for the Firebirds, who were held to an 0-for-3 mark on the power play in the game. The Reign were also held off the scoresheet on the man-advantage, going 0-for-2.

Postgame thoughts from head coach Marco Sturm, Dell and Moverare are below.

Marco Sturm

Aaron Dell
On earning his first win with the Reign
I felt good. I think I got a little bit more comfortable with the style of game the team plays and with the players individually as well. I’ve done a lot of work with [Adam Brown] over the last little while to try and get back on the same page with everybody and get my game back again. I think that [game] was a pretty good indicator that its been working.

On the defense playing in front of him
We did a pretty good job of eliminating second opportunities and we were pretty on top of it if pucks bounced out. I think that makes it a little bit easier. You only have to worry about the first shot, and we were great with that all night.

On facing so many shots against a Firebirds team he’s faced in the past
That’s the first time I’ve played against them where they didn’t have over 40 shots. They have a lot of the same personnel on their side and they played exactly the same way they did last year. They have a couple of new faces but seems like they kind of just filled in for the guys that aren’t there anymore. They’re basically the same time.

On his first win in front of the home fans
It was great. It was great to get one in general, but we’ve had a little bit of a tough stretch, and we’ve worked on a lot of stuff over the last couple of weeks. I think that was probably the best 60-minute game, or 65-minute game, I’ve seen us play. Hopefully we can build off that and go on a run here.

Jacob Moverare


Ontario heads south for a battle in San Diego with the Gulls on Saturday night at Pechanga Arena at 6 p.m.

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