Reign’s new acquisition, Goalie Jase Weslosky, was on display for the first time on Saturday.
Weslosky seemed to prove his worth right away as he saved 14 goals in the first period alone and only surrendered one goal all night leading the Reign to a 3-1 victory over the visiting Las Vegas Wranglers.
“You are always looking to make a good impression . . . you never
know who is watching,” said Weslosky.
Weslosky was informed late Friday night that he was leaving for Ontario and did not arrive until two in the morning and was awake for a physical at seven. It was adrenaline and the will to give a good first impression that carried him through an impressive debut for the reign.
The Ontario Reign acquired Weslosky from the Florida Everblades in exchange for center Dusty Collins late Friday night.
Weslosky started the season with the Idaho Steelheads before being traded to the Everglades earlier this month. He maintained a 2.94 goals-against average(GAA), a .910 save percentage and had a 7-6-3 record with the Steelheads.
He had not appeared in a game yet for the Everblades as they already had an established goalie. But they are also in the middle of playoff race while the Reign are fighting to get out of the cellar of the Western Conference. But to Weslosky, he just wanted to go to a place that he could contribute to the team more.
“Ontario was willing to give me a chance and it is definitely appreciated,” said Weslowsky.
Apparently, the Reign were not satisfied with the play of Goalies Beau Erickson and Mike Zacharias.
Weslosky’s GAA is much better than both Erickson’s (3.330) and Zacharias’ (3.380) this season.
While that could be somewhat of a product of better defense in front of Weslosky, tonight showed that Weslosky’s quick glove could make up for mistakes made by the defenseman.
Several times a Wranglers player had a clear shot at the goal but each time they were denied by Weslosky.
However, he did mishandle an easy shot attempt that led to a rebound goal by Wranglers left winger, Blair Riley breaking up a scoreless tie late in the second.
“When [Riley] chipped [the puck], it kind of surprised me and I tried to get my arm and elbow up and it handcuffed me and when [the puck] fell down, I was so compact up top that when I was coming down it was hard for me and he was right there for the rebound already,” said Weslosky.
It was the only mistake he would make all night, however, as he put on a sterling display of athleticism and quickness to help lead the Reign to their first victory in four games.
But he needed some offense too, even if he did only allow one goal. And offense was very difficult to come by for almost two and a half periods.
The Reign were only able to get off 14 shots on goal through two periods and their chances looked bleak heading into the third period after four missed power play opportunities.
But they were finally able to break through when Jordan Morrison, assisted by Chaz Johnson and Pat Bowen, scored eight minutes into the third period to tie the game at 1-1.
The Reign did not waste any time going on the offensive again as they were able to score four minutes later as Kyle Kreamer, assisted by Michael Pelech, was able to squeeze a slap shot by Wrangler Goalie Billy Sauer.
The Reign added to their tally late in the third when Chaz Johnson was able to score an empty-net goal after the Wranglers pulled Sauer in an attempt to tie the game.
The Reign also acquired Alaska Aces defenseman Craig Gaudet for future considerations on Friday.
Gaudet and Weslosky were college roommates at St. Cloud State University.