The Ontario Reign let a two-goal third-period lead slip away before losing in overtime to the Stockton Heat on Sunday.
Two third period goals from the Stockton Heat sent the game to overtime as the visitors were able to edge the Ontario Reign 5-4.
Connor Mackey picked up a loose puck in the left circle and scored on his own rebound just 24 seconds into the overtime period for Stockton.
Despite holding a two-goal lead in the third period, the Reign spent a lot of time on their heels as Stockton outshot them 46-27. Goaltender Lukas Parik was busy in his first AHL start, making 41 saves in the loss.
The Reign struggled in the first period, being outshot 18-8, but thanks to goals from Samuel Fagemo and Quinton Byfield were able to escape the opening 20 minutes tied at two.
An early power-play goal by Stockton put the visitors up 1-0 off the stick of Eetu Tuulola. Fagemo’s 10th of the season tied things up just under four minutes later.
The Heat would regain the lead at the 14:25 mark when Matthew Phillips beat goaltender Parik high to the glove side on a breakaway.
Nearly two minutes later, Byfield showed off his patience and good hands in tight to tie the game:
— Ontario Reign (@ontarioreign) January 9, 2022
The second period was a good one for Ontario. Parik turned away all 11 shots he faced, and the line of Byfield, Tyler Madden, and Gabriel Vilardi continued their strong play with some nice work down low, leading to a Madden goal:
— Ontario Reign (@ontarioreign) January 10, 2022
Through two periods, and even the first half of the third, Parik was huge for Ontario. In what was his first career AHL start, he made a number of saves on high-quality scoring chances, particularly early in the final 20 minutes.
With 4:24 to play, Martin Pospisil was left open in front and banged home a pass from Phillips from behind the net.
Ontario fell to 16-6-3-1 and lost ground on the first-place Heat. Stockton improved to 21-5-2-1 and has an 11 point lead over the Reign.