The Ontario Reign let a win slip right through their fingers.
The Reign started quickly as right winger Alex Bourret scored a goal, assisted by C.J. Stretch, less than two minutes into the game.
The Reign has been able to draw first blood in games recently but have not held onto the early leads very well. They were able to score first in Friday’s contest facing the Steelheads as well, but that turned into a 7-2 loss.
On Saturday it was a much closer game but it could have turned into another blowout if the Reign continued to pass the puck the way they were in the first period. Every pass seemed to be off the mark and/or the receiver was not able to handle it. The sloppy passing turned into a goal for the Steelheads as an errant Reign pass was intercepted at center ice and was turned into a goal by Geoff Irwin for the Steelheads.
The main, if not only, reason the Reign were able to keep the score tied after the first period was the play of Chaz Johnson. The right-winger seems to be the enforcer, shot creator and shot taker all rolled into one for this team. He had several huge checks into the boards that excited the crowd in the first period.
But the Reign’s play improved after the intermission as the Reign apparently hired Coach Bombay and his famous egg handling drill during the first intermission as the passing was much more crisp leading to two second period goals by Jordan Hill and Chaz Johnson respectively.
Idaho was able to answer late in the second with a goal by Kael Mouillierat to make it 3-2.
The third period was dominated by the Reign but they were not able to capitalize on several chances to extend their lead. After 15 minutes of dominating the play, the Reign seemed to let down and the Steelheads took advantage and scored the equalizer with two minutes to play in the game.
After a scoreless overtime period, the Steelheads won the shootout 2-0 therefore winning the game that the Reign seemed to have in hand for most of the game.
There are a few problems that have led to the Reign’s disappointing record such as the lack of crisp, accurate passing, although that seemed to improve tonight. But the biggest problem is the utter lack of a killer instinct.
There were several points in this game where the Reign could have shut the door on the Steelheads but they let them stick around and ultimately win the game. That needs to be addressed for any significant improvement to be achieved.