Nov. 11, 2017

Jonny Brodzinski’s rebound goal at 6:20 of the first period gave the Ontario Reign (4-6-0-1) a lead they would not relinquish, as the visitors skated to a 4-1 win over the San Diego Gulls on Friday night at Valley View Casino Center. Andrew Crescenzi scored his first two goals of the season and added an assist as the Reign put a sour touch as the Gulls (5-7-1-0) ended Military Weekend.

“We don’t have as strong a lineup as other teams right now,” said head coach Dallas Eakins. “That’s what happens: the ice gets tilted the other way.”

Keaton Thompson’s third period power play goal accounted for the lone score of the night for the Gulls, their 18th power play goal of the season to lead the American Hockey League. The Gulls power play has scored in 11 of their 12 games this season and has been a bright spot as injuries and recalls have taken their toll on a depleted lineup.

Ontario continued their recent streak of hot starts, scoring the first goal for the fourth time in their last five games. After a clean faceoff win in the San Diego zone, defenseman Zach Leslie’s point shot was saved by Boyle, only to see the rebound shoved home by a sprawling Jonny Brodzinski, who was wiped out in front of the net as he pushed a one-handed shot across the goal line for his fourth of the season at 6:20.

Brodzinski has eight points in six games since being reassigned to Ontario from NHL parent club Los Angeles. The Reign improved to 4-0 on the season when scoring the game’s first goal.

The second Reign goal in the first period came off an unfortunate bounce from the Gulls’ perspective, as Alex Lintuniemi’s right point wrister was blocked once and twice, but carried deflected momentum while changing direction. The puck bounced into the Gulls net at 14:56, with Boyle out high anticipating a puck in the corner. Ontario led 2-0 after twenty minutes of play.

The second period saw Gulls goalie Boyle, who stopped 34-of-37 shots, put to the test, stopping all 16 shots he faced, including a pair of key low wing shots in the final minute. The Gulls were unable to record a shot on net in the period.

“Hats off to Ontario, I haven’t seen them block that many shots in a number of years,” added Eakins. “We had more (shots attempted) than last night, but we couldn’t get them through. They were blocked.”

Ontario’s Andrew Crescenzi finished a crossing pass at an acute angle from right wing to push the Reign lead to 3-0 at 3:20 of the third period. San Diego answered on the power play at 15:07, as Keaton Thompson’s right circle wrister beat goalie Cal Peterson up high for his first goal of the season. Crescenzi added an empty-netter in the final minute to conclude scoring for the night.

The Gulls continue a five-game homestand when they host the Tucson Roadrunners in the first of a back-to-back matchup on Friday night at Valley View Casino Center. The faceoff is scheduled for 7pm on Fox-5 San Diego TV and The Mighty 1090-AM.

Three Stars:
1. Andrew Crescenzi (ONT)
2. Jonny Brodzinski (ONT)
3. Kevin Boyle (SD)