A strong start and Chris Driedger’s 25-save performance leads the Coachella Valley Firebirds to a 4-0 victory over the Ontario Reign.

Goal Breakdown

First period:

CV: Ty Kartye (25), ASST: Jeremy McKenna (6)

CV: Max McCormick (26)

Second period: 


Third period:

CV: PP Max McCormick (27), ASST: Brogan Rafferty (41), Ty Kartye (26)

CV: Jeremy McKenna (4), ASST: Kole Lind (31)



CV: 4

ONT: 0


CV: 27

ONT: 25


CV: 1/4

ONT: 0/6

Here are the three takeaways from Friday’s 4-0 loss:

Ty Kartye and Max McCormick continue to haunt the Reign

Coachella Valley has plenty of depth throughout its lineup. Several players have actually given the Ontario Reign nightmares as well. Every year there are one, two, or even three players who have success against a certain team. Unfortunately, for the Ontario Reign, Ty Kartye and Max McCormick fall into that list of players who have had success against them.

Entering last night’s contest, in six games, Kartye recorded seven points (6-1=7) while McCormick recorded ten points (5-5=10) against the Ontario Reign. Last night, both players added two points to those totals. Kartye now has nine points (7-2=9) and now McCormick has 12 points (7-5=12) in seven meetings against the Reign. They’re just a thorn in the Reign’s side this season.

Alex Laferriere makes his pro debut

Alex Laferriere was signed to an ATO by the Ontario Reign Wednesday afternoon.

After practicing with the team Thursday, he made his debut last night on the fourth line. It was a rough start as Ty Kartye’s goal at 2:01 into the game was going well wide but went off Laferriere and into the back of the net to open the scoring. An unfortunate play in your debut.

As the game went on I thought Laferriere got more comfortable and had two good scoring chances in the second period. One of the improvements Laferriere has made since he was drafted was his skating and I liked what I saw. He has a good stride, first step, and acceleration. There’s a lot to like about him. He even got moved up to the first line in the third period as well with Marco Sturm juggling the lines looking for a spark.


While it was great to see Laferriere make his debut for the Reign, that wasn’t the only notable lineup change from the last game.

Helge Grans returned to the lineup while Tobias Bjornfot was recalled to the LA Kings on an emergency basis. However, there are two names that didn’t play last night after playing Wednesday’s game. Those two players would be Alex Turcotte and Tobie Bisson. Both players returned to the lineup on March 22nd after being out with an injury and played in four games before being unavailable for last night’s game. Samuel Helenius and Nate Thompson are both out as well. The depth at the center position to start the year was strong, but with injuries and call-ups, it’s now thin. It’ll be something to keep an eye on as the regular season comes to a close with the Reign fighting to clinch a playoff spot.

A poor start and special teams

The Coachella Valley Firebirds are an experienced team that plays their game very well. When the puck drops you have to be ready to skate and can’t fall behind early as they are great in transition. Both teams split the first six games and in five of those games, the Reign were focused from the start. Last night, however, they started the game off very poorly. Two turnovers ended up in the back of their net with one being a lucky bounce and the other possibly looking stoppable.

What was more disappointing was the power play going 0-for-6, including a four-minute power play in the second period. The Reign had their chances but couldn’t convert. At times the power play looked predictable with Jordan Spence and TJ Tynan, being the passers, both looking for Samuel Fagemo for the one-time shot from the left circle. When your opponent knows what you want to do, it makes the power play much easier to defend.

For the Ontario Reign, the magic number to clinch a playoff spot is still five points because San Jose beat Texas in overtime. That makes this game much more disappointing for Ontario. Only six games remain in the season.

UP NEXT: The Ontario Reign are back in action Sunday against the Colorado Eagles. The game starts at 3 pm PT and can be seen on AHLTV.

Featured image credit: Ontario Reign/Mike Zitek

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