Ontario Reign fall 4-1 in regular season finale, learn postseason fate

The Ontario Reign (34-32-5-1) wrapped up their regular season in Henderson on Saturday night with a 4-1 loss.

Ontario Reign fall 4-1 in regular season finale, learn postseason fate
Photo: Ontario Reign

The Ontario Reign (34-32-5-1) wrapped up their regular season in Henderson on Saturday night with a 4-1 loss. Going into the evening, Marco Sturm's squad had already locked up the No. 6 seed, and it was just a matter of where they would be traveling to next week.

We now know that the Reign will face the No. 3 seed Colorado Eagles in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Period 1

The Reign found themselves down a goal just 15 seconds into the game after Sheldon Rempal found Sakari Manninen on the stretch pass through the Ontario defense, and Manninen beat Matt Villalta.

After a slow start, the Reign found their footing, outshooting the Silver Knights 7-2 through the first six minutes, including a point-blank chance for Alan Quine, which was turned aside by Jiri Patera.

The Henderson netminder made another terrific save just over eight minutes into the period after Andre Lee carried the puck into the offensive zone, curled in tight on net, and attempted a backhand shot. Patera showed good poise and positioning to calmly glove it and stop play.

With the Reign on the penalty kill late in the frame, Alex Turcotte was sprung on a shorthanded breakaway and had not one but two excellent scoring chances, but both were turned aside.

In the final minute, Tyler Madden blocked a bomb from the blueline and was slow to get up. He limped to the bench and down the tunnel under his own power.

After the first period horn, the Reign had a 13-12 shots on goal advantage, despite trailing 1-0.

Period 2

Madden was on the ice before the second frame began, testing his knee. By all accounts, he was good to resume playing and was on the ice for the second-period faceoff, which was great to see.

The Reign went to their first powerplay of the game after Nate Schnarr drove in hard toward the net and was tripped up.

On the man advantage, it looked like the Reign had scored, with Lias Andersson being the would-be scorer, but the officials immediately waved off the goal. After a lengthy review, the call on the ice was upheld.

Still on the powerplay, the Reign pieced together another scoring chance, this time, it counted. After cycling the puck, Jordan Spence sent a missile from the blue line, and Andersson redirected the puck into the net, his 31st tally of the year.

Approaching the midway point, the Reign looked poised to take the lead on Jacob Moverare's shot above the left circle. Martin Chromiak controlled the puck around the net, finding the Reign defenseman on the other side. Moverare sent a strong shot on net, but Patera made an unbelievable save on the play.

Moments later, Henderson scored.

A turnover in neutral ice led to the Silver Knights carrying an odd-man rush the other way. Gage Quinney sent a centering pass from the left wing to Connor Corcoran, who snuck his shot past Reign netminder Matt Villalta.

The Reign did themselves no favors, committing back-to-back penalties, which sent Henderson to a 5-on-3 advantage for 0:26. However, the Silver Knights failed to score on the chance.

Ontario led 27-22 in shots on goal, trailing 2-1 after 40 minutes.

Period 3

Just as they did in the opening 20 minutes, the Henderson Silver Knights scored early in a period. Off the faceoff in their offensive zone, Corcoran sent a one-timer from the top of the point that was redirected multiple times and in. 3-1

Less than three minutes later, Henderson added to their lead.

The Silver Knights led a rush into the Ontario defensive zone, with Ivan Morozov finding Brendan Brisson along the left side, who beat Villalta for his 17th goal of the year. 4-1

The Reign couldn't get much of anything going through the first ten minutes of the period, being outshot 9-3.

Ontario had one last good look, with Moverare firing a shot on Patera from above the left circle, and Andre Lee was there a second chance off the rebound.


The Reign finished the regular season on a three-game skid and will travel to Loveland, Colorado for the start of their first round series against the Colorado Eagles on Wednesday. Puck drop is set for 6:05 pm PT.

We'll have a full preview of the series.