Reign Are Regular-Season Pacific Division Champions with Win in Stockton
Stockton, CA - The Ontario Reign (41-18-4-1) captured the 2015-16 regular-season Pacific Division title with a 4-1 win over the Stockton Heat (30-29-2-2) Wednesday evening at Stockton Arena.
After a scoreless first period, the two teams erupted for five goals in the second frame with the Reign taking a 4-1 lead into the intermission. Forward Michael Mersch and defenseman Nick Ebert opened the scoring for Ontario with back-to-back power-play goals early in the period. Mersch redirected a Jeff Schultz shot from the point for his team-leading 23rd goal of the season at 3:05 and Ebert's tally banked off a Heat stick at 5:15. The Heat responded by snapping the Reign's penalty-kill perfection streak (51-for-51 over the last 14 games) with a man-advantage marker from Bill Arnold at 12:54.
Moments later, defenseman Derek Forbort reclaimed a two-goal advantage for the Reign, blasting a shot past Heat goaltender Nick Schneider from the right point at 16:02. Less than a minute later, forward Sam Herr made it 4-1 and completed the game scoring with his first professional goal in just his second pro game, catching a cross-ice pass from Matt Leitner at 16:40.
Reign goaltender Peter Budaj earned his AHL-leading 39th victory of the season with a season-high 46 saves.
The Reign finished the game 2-for-3 on the power play while the Heat went 1-for-3.
The Ontario Reign return to Citizens Business Bank Arena for the final regular-season home game on Friday, April 8 against the Bakersfield Condors at 7:00 p.m. Join the Reign for Fan Appreciation Night, Sprouts Grocery Bag Giveaway and $2 20oz. Bud Lights and Montejo!
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Ontario Reign Battle the Stockton Heat
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