ONTARIO, Calif. – The Ontario Reign stunned the Utah Grizzlies on Wednesday night at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
The Reign were first on the board and racked up a team record seven goals with five coming in the second period earning their second straight win for the first time in Reign playoff history.
Kevin Estrada was the first to score with a laser from the left circle. Adrian Van de Mosselaer intercepted a Grizzlies pass and found Estrada ready to fire for the lone goal of the first period.
The second period wrote a different story with a total of five more goals being added for the Reign.
Just 11 seconds in, the Reign were on the power play and C.J. Stretch scored his first of three goals in the period with a quick snap on Kyle Kraemer’s pass from along the boards. Brodie Sheahan took advantage of the next Grizzlies penalty and backhanded a shot top shelf at 1:45 to give Ontario a 3-0 lead. David Walker assisted on the play.
The scoring continued when Derek Couture netted his first goal of the series. The Captain charged the Grizzlies net with a hard shot rebounded by Shane Owen; the winger collected the puck and flicked it up top. The Reign scored another rebound goal, Stretch’s second of the night. Nick Ebert played the puck through the middle to D.J. King along the boards. King sent a long shot toward the Grizzlies cage which Stretch tipped in to take a 5-0 lead.
The hats hit the ice when Stretch lit the lamp again at the 13:58 mark of the second period. Kraemer earned his second assist of the night on the goal kicking the puck to Stretch from behind the net. The hat trick marked the second in Reign history, the first was Bud Holloway’s milestone in the 2009 Kelly Cup Playoffs.
Utah finally got on the board at 15:08 with a goal from Riley Armstrong. The shot found its way past JF Berube for the Grizzlies only goal of the frame.
Stretch was on fire with his fourth tally to give Ontario a commanding 7-1 lead about halfway through the third period. Kraemer skated the puck into the Grizzlies zone and sent a beautiful feed to Stretch waiting right in front of the net.
The Grizzlies put one more on the board to close the game out with a final score of 7-2 in favor of the Reign.
Berube earned his second straight win with 21 saves on 23 shots; Owen took the loss allowing three goals on nine shots. Meisner came in to relieve Owen after 21:45 and allowed four goals on 17 shots.
1. ONT – C.J. Stretch
2. ONT – Kyle Kraemer
3. ONT – Derek Couture
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