They see me rollin'. They hatin'.
- Jul 28, 2004
For the second game in a row, Ontario found themselves in an early 3-0 deficit to crawl out from on Tuesday night. They would rally a two-goal effort to bring the score to 3-2 in the middle frame for just one minute before surrendering a goal on the penalty kill late in the period. From that point onward, the game slipped away and the Reign couldn’t contend, eventually falling 6-3 to the visiting Colorado Eagles.
Benefiting from a healthy and full squad, the Eagles came out flying early, scoring the first goal of the game after peppering Reign goaltender Erik Portillo with a 10-0 shot advantage.
By contrast, playing their third game in five days, the Reign have been on the wrong side of the first period shot clock now for three straight games, registering shot disadvantages of 6-14, 6-14, and 4-15, respectively.
After the game, coach Marco Sturm said he felt his team was playing tight and, at times, afraid; but was pleased as the night progressed and his young team settled in.
With the loss, Ontario now holds just a single victory in their past six games and have allowed the Eagles to move within one point of them in the tight Pacific Division.
Now, Sturm will have several days of practice to work on the team’s troubling trend of poor starts before a rematch between the two clubs takes place on Friday at Toyota Arena.
Home Cooking?: For a team with a respectable record overall, the Reign have had trouble at home this season. They sport a points percentage of just .500 at Toyota Arena (23rd in the league) and an astounding .659 P% on the road (sixth in the league). Coincidentally, this falls eerily in line with the record of their NHL parent in Los Angeles, who rank 26th in the league at home and sixth on the road.
Penalt-ies Kill: The penalty kill has become a work in progress after allowing three goals on seven chances in this game. Continuing the home and road comparisons, the Reign boast the best penalty kill in the league when on the road, but in the comfort of their own arena, they rank 29th of 32 teams in the AHL. They’ve surrendered seven power play goals in the past two home games alone, while only allowing seven on the road all season.
Stick Infractions: Speaking of penalties, coach Sturm described the uncharacteristic seven penalties as “stupid” and untimely. All seven penalties were stick infractions that Sturm related to his players not keeping pace with the away squad.
Rookie Portillo: Ontario’s young netminder recorded the most goals allowed in his professional career with six in this game; however, he was also instrumental in keeping the Reign in this game early on, as he faced 22 shots in the first two periods of play. Portillo was looking to build off his impressive one-goal allowed and 41-save performance from his last outing.
Kings Prospects: Forward Samuel Helenius scored his third goal in two consecutive games. He has looked comfortable and confident in his elevated role to the third line. The big Finn now has seven goals in the past 18 games. Akil Thomas also picked up an assist, stretching his points streak to 4 games (2G, 4A).