ONTARIO, Calif. – The Ontario Reign fell to the Alaska Aces 4-3 in a physical battle between the league’s top teams before a sellout crowd of 9,616 on Saturday night.
The crowd marked the Reign’s seventh sellout of the season, the most in team history and gave the Reign an average attendance of 7,575 fans per game – crushing the team’s previous record of 6,683 during the 2010-11 season.
Harrison’s first of the evening came when Alaska’s Sean Curry got the puck off the draw and sent it to Harrison who skated it past the Reign defense, through the left face-off circle. He ripped a shot that beat JF Berube’s glove for the first tally of the night, a power-play goal.
Harrison struck again at 9:49 when Berube went to play the puck behind the Reign cage and lost control of it. Gary Nunn moved it to Harrison waiting in front of the open net to take a two-goal lead.
The Reign responded at 12:25 with a power-play goal of their own from newcomer Jake Hauswirth. It was the Reign’s second 5-on-3 opportunity of the period. Matt Register and Nick Ebert set up the play passing along the point and found Hauswirth who fired a one-timer through the five-hole of Mark Guggenberger.
The home team lit the lamp again at 17:43 with Cameron Burt’s second goal of the season. The league’s leading rookie, Mario Lamoureux, fought with the Aces defense to get the puck out to Derek Couture. Couture found Burt across the ice, and the rookie managed to thread a shot through an Aces player and Guggenberger.
The only goal in the second frame game from Alaska’s Tommy Mele as he sent a bouncing pass over Berube’s pads to regain the lead.
Alaska took their second two-goal lead of the game and solidified their win when Steve Ward was left all alone at the right circle and his wrist shot clanged in off the crossbar.
Berube took the loss with 30 saves on 34 shots, and Guggenberger earned the win with 35 saves on 38 shots.
1. AK – Zach Harrison
2. AK – Tommy Mele
3. ONT – Cameron Burt
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