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Patience a necessity as Reign struggles

By in Press Enterprise on January 11, 2018

By Jim Alexander

ONTARIO — It was easy to be spoiled as an Ontario Reign fan the last couple of seasons. It is more of a humbling experience now, and it’s not difficult to understand why.

“It catches me every (once in a) while, too,” coach Mike Stothers said after Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to Rockford, in which William Pelletier had a hat trick (including an empty net goal at the end), Viktor Svedberg had three assists and Rancho Cucamonga’s Collin Delia stopped 33 of the 35 Ontario shots he faced.

“And then I take a step back and realize that they’re still growing. You gotta recognize what you had before — and older, more experienced, higher-octane team — and now we’ve evolved into a lot younger, lot more inexperienced team. So that’s part of the process.”

There was a brief reminder of what used to be when Jonny Brodzinski and Kevin Gravel pulled on Reign sweaters Wednesday night. Both are trying to find their way in the NHL these days, and they were sent down by the Kings this week primarily to get some extra ice time during the club’s bye week. Presumably, they’ll be back with the Kings when they resume play Saturday against the Ducks at Staples Center.

Brodzinski got the night off to a good start for Ontario, zipping a shot from the inside edge of the left circle over Delia’s shoulder for a 1-0 Ontario lead at 4:11 of the first period. Michael Mersch gave Ontario a 2-1 lead late in the period on a redirection, with Gravel getting assists on both goals, but Rockford scored the game’s final four goals against Cal Petersen: two from Pelletier and one each from Luke Johnson and Tyler Sikura.

It was Ontario’s third loss in four games. The Reign is 16-15-1-1 and has fallen into last […]    

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