Alex Turcotte’s three assists and Garret Sparks’ 35 saves led the Ontario Reign to a 3-2 win over the Bakersfield Condors.

In what was a bit of a strange game for the Ontario Reign, they edged the Bakersfield Condors 3-2.

To say they started slowly would be an understatement. Bakersfield had the first seven shots on goal, and it took nearly half the first period for the Reign even to attempt a shot. But despite falling behind 1-0, they were able to tie things up in the opening period.

It was a slow, penalty-filled game with the two teams combining for 15 penalties.

Game Recap

Head Coach John Wroblewski mixed some things up for the fourth game of the season:

The Reign were on their heels from puck drop as the first seven shots on goal of the game went to Bakersfield, who ultimately outshot the hosts 9-4 in the period. The visitors held a 16-9 edge in 5-on-5 shot-attempts after the first 20.

The Condors struck first when Seth Griffith scored on a 5 on 3 power play:

The second half of the period was much better for the Reign, and they took advantage of a power play of their own with Brayden Burke getting his first goal of the season:

Tied 1-1 in the second period, Austin Wagner used his high-end speed to beat the Condors defender down the right side, cut to the front of the net, and was able to sneak the puck past Ilya Konovalov:

There were seven combined penalties in the second period, but neither team was able to take advantage of their power-plays.

Just minutes into the third period, Austin Strand gave the Reign a much-needed cushion with a wrister from the point:

Ontario had chances to extend their lead on the power play a few times but was unable to convert. Ryan McLeod was then able to pull Bakersfield back within one:

Aided by three power plays, Ontario had the ice tilted for much of the third period, out-attempting Bakersfield 28-21 overall in the final frame.

In the end, the Condors outshot the Reign 37-28.

Final Shot Attempts

This was the first time all season the Reign were on the wrong side of the shot attempt battle in large part due to their extremely slow start. They didn’t register a shot until nearly the halfway point of the first period. Most of Ontario’s shot attempt damage was done on the power play in terms of attempts:

vs. Bakersfield Shot Attempts For Shot Attempts Against CORSI CF%
All Strengths 56 66 -10 45.90%
All Strengths HD 16 21 -5 43.24%
5v5 24 48 -24 33.33%
5v5 HD 9 12 -3 42.86%

Box Score

Ontario Reign

 

The full box score can be found here.

Thoughts and Takeaways

  • Tyler Madden was excellent in this one, particularly on the power-play. Set up in the bumper spot in the slot again, he had about a half-dozen very good opportunities, hitting the post on two of them. He finished the night with seven shots on goal, and that doesn’t include the two posts. His play through four games has been among the best of Reign forwards.
  • We saw some different looks tonight in terms of line combinations. The Tynan line is going to be good regardless of who joins him and Frk. The Turcotte line was also strong in this one. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Turcotte and Johnson together.
  • Along those lines, I think Adam Johnson is flying completely under the radar this season. Not one of the many top prospects, but he’s consistently been in the Reign’s top six and seeing power-play time as well. He’s fitting right in.
  • The power-play was only 1-for-8, but this was probably the best it looked all season. The puck movement on the first unit was great, particularly in the third period. It should be noted that of the eight power plays, a number of them were abbreviated due to overlapping penalties.
  • The top unit with Tynan, Frk, and co looked very good, and if Madden wasn’t snake bitten would have had a bundle. That said, the Turcotte-Johnson-Burke-Fagemo-Clague looked quite strong as well. They did score the lone power-play goal, after all.
  • On the other side of the Special Teams coin, the penalty-kill was strong, killing off six of seven.
  • This was Garret Sparks‘ Ontario Reign debut. At times, he was solid, but I didn’t feel he looked quite as comfortable as either Matt Villalta or Jacob Ingham in the opening three games. There were a few shots he seemed to fight, but he came up big when needed at the end of the day, particularly when the Condors had the extra attacker in the final minute. Ultimately, he ended with 35 saves—another strong goaltending outing in Ontario.
  • I’d mentioned on the most recent episode of Making It Reign that with Turcotte, it’s not all about the point total to determine if his season will be a success, but at some point, the production needs to come. Challenge accepted. He picked up three assists tonight.

The Reign will end their five-game homestand to open the season Saturday night against the San Diego Gulls, 6 p.m. P.T. from Toyota Arena.

The LA Kings have recalled defenseman Austin Strand from the AHL

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