Comeback bid falls short, Ontario Reign lose 3-2 to Coachella Valley
Cal Petersen has allowed 3 or more goals against Coachella Valley in five of eight games this year.
The Ontario Reign dropped to 34-30-5-1 on the season and into a two-way tie for fifth place in the Pacific Division with Wednesday's 3-2 loss.
The Reign spent much of the first few minutes of the game in their defensive zone and didn't register a shot until approximately 6:30 into the period.
To his credit, Reign netminder Cal Petersen made a number of terrific saves to keep Coachella Valley off the board. However, it was just a matter of time before they broke through, and then the floodgates opened.
After a Reign turnover in their defensive zone, Luke Henman turned and fired the puck past Petersen.
The goal would be the first of three goals for the Firebirds in the period, with Cameron Hughes scoring less than one minute later and Ville Petman less than two minutes after.
Ontario trailed 3-0 and were outshot 14-6 after the first 20 minutes.
The Reign drew a penalty less than two minutes into the middle frame and closed the gap on Samuel Fagemo's powerplay goal.
The combination of Fagemo, Jordan Spence, and T.J. Tynan cycled the puck around the point before the former rocketed home his 23rd goal of the year.
After the goal, the Reign went right back to the powerplay. They didn't cash in on the second man advantage, but Marco Sturm's squad closed the shots on goal.
Martin Chromiak nearly made it a one-goal game after Shane Wright's turnover found the puck on the former's stick. Chromiak fired a shot on net, but Chris Driedger made a great save to keep the Reign from adding another.
The Firebirds went to the powerplay late in the period and almost scored on an awkward bounce. With Petersen behind the net to receive the puck around the end boards, the puck went off the sideboards and hit the left post.
Ontario outshot Coachella Valley 10-6 in the frame.
At the 1:17 mark of the third period, it looked like Coachella Valley had made it a three-goal lead again. But the officials immediately waved off the goal after it was clear that Jimmy Schuldt pushed the puck in, despite Petersen covering it.
On a delayed penalty with just over 12 minutes left in regulation, the Reign made it a one-goal game.
As the wave was rolling throughout the arena, Tynan sent a centering pass to Tobie Bisson, who ripped a wrister past Driedger. The goal marked Bisson's fourth of the season, with Tynan collecting his second assist of the night and seventh in his last six games.
With 2:42 left in regulation, the Reign committed a costly high-sticking penalty, putting them on the penalty kill.
Petersen couldn't get to the bench until there were less than 20 seconds left and that would be all she wrote.
Cal Petersen Struggles
Wednesday's start marked the fifth time in eight games that Petersen allowed three or more goals against Coachella Valley this season. The defense in front of him didn't do him any favors – and Petersen made a few key saves early on in the game – but it's not exactly encouraging.
Fagemo Snaps Pointless Streak
Samuel Fagemo hadn't recorded a point since March 26, going five games without making the scoresheet. The streak marked the second longest drought of his season, with exception to a six-game pointless streak at the end of October and carrying over into November.
Positive Momentum Into Friday
Despite the three minutes in the first period, the Reign played a (mostly) good game, especially the second period. Hopefully, Ontario can use this momentum from the final two periods and carry it over to Friday's game against the Henderson Silver Knights.
Playoff Picture Heating Up
With the Reign losing and Bakersfield winning on Tuesday, the two teams are tied for fifth place in the Pacific Division with two games remaining. Depending how the last two games go, the Reign will play either the No. 3 seed Colorado Eagles or the No. 4 seed Abbotsford Canucks.
Ontario will host Henderson on Friday night in the final home game of the regular season, with puck drop set for 7:00 pm PT.