ONTARIO, Calif. – The Ontario Reign took a tough 4-2 loss to the Stockton Thunder on Wednesday night before a crowd of 7,679 at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
The Stockton Thunder took a lead at 6:05 when a rebound took a funny deflection and went past Mathias Niederberger’s glove. Matt Bergland was credited with the goal. At 16:46 Reign captain Derek Couture scored his 11th of the season after charging the Thunder net, he wrapped it around the skate of Brian Foster to tie the game. Jake Newton and Mario Lamoureux assisted the equalizer.
Niederberger made three saves in a row with skaters surrounding him but when the puck went around the back of the net, Garet Hunt managed to get a shot out which banked in off the Reign goalie’s back in into the net at 8:39. Just moments later, Matt Dalhuisen launched a shot from the point and it sailed through the Reign zone past the glove of Niederberger at 9:51.
In the third period Jussi Olkinuora made his Reign debut in relief of Niederberger. At 4:17 the Thunder won a draw in the Reign end. Mitch Bruijsten won the faceoff and sent the puck back to Bergland at the blue line; his shot rocketed past Jussi Olknuora putting the Thunder up 4-1. In a final attempt to catch the Thunder, Chad Costello burst into the Thunder zone and beat Foster at 17:50 bringing the score to 4-2 in favor of Stockton as the clock ticked down.
Niederberger took the loss with 21 saves on 24 shots; Foster earned a win with 29 saves on 31 shots. Olkinuora made nine saves on 10 shots in his first game with the Reign.