This time, the Stockton Heat's comeback effort was unsuccessful.
After overcoming a three-goal deficit in the first quarter on Sunday, the Heat once again fell behind early. The Ontario Reign were able to hang on for a 3-1 win in front of a crowd of 2,055 at Stockton Arena.
“They were the better team in the first two periods for sure," Heat head coach Ryan Huska said. "We played into them a little bit, where we had too many turnovers. At times we allowed the game to stay in front of their defenseman and we made it an easier night on them. The third period we started to play the right way, where we used some of our speed to get the upper hand and shift the play.”
The Heat (27-20-5) allowed Ontario to build a 2-0 cushion in the first quarter. The Heat finally ansewered in the second period when forward Ryan Lomberg followed his own rebound and cut the Reign's lead in half.
Lomberg sent a backhander from the right circle which was blocked back to his hands. He dropped the puck and ripped a wrist shot over the glove of Reign goaltender Cal Petersen 7:32 into t he period.
But Stockton couldn not muster another goal. Sam Herr added an empty netter for Ontario in the final two minutes.
Philippe Maillet had a flashy goal to start off the Reign 2:16 into the game. His shot from just inside the blueline was blocked back into the neutral zone,. He recovered, broke up ice and used a nice deke to beat Stockton goalie Ryan Faragher.
Alex Lintuniemi's shot off a defender's skate got past Faragher made it 2-0 Ontario. Faragher had 34 saves.
“I thought [Faragher] was excellent tonight," Huska said. "The first goal he might want to have back, but the second one was a bounce off a shin pad that went straight up in the air, so it was a bad break on that one. He made a lot of saves through the first two periods to keep us in a position where we had a chance to comeback and get a win.”