Larocque-Wolfe Walks Off Monsters in OT Thriller

by Sebastian Abdon Ibarra

The Ontario Jr Reign (17-5-0) battled back from a two goal deficit to win in OT against the Fresno Monsters (15-1-1) by a score of 5-4 in matchup that has to be a serious contender for game of the year. 

In a game that had many twists, turns, ups and downs, it all came down to a Kaedin Larocque-Wolfe deflection off a Rhys Doyle missile towards the net to get Ontario Center Ice Arena rocking and sending the Jr Reign fans home happy. 

It was a statement win for the Jr Reign, not only because it ensures they stay atop the Pacific, but also they announced to the Monsters that it is going to be a battle down the stretch for first place. The Jr Reign demonstrated incredible heart and grit in the win, and it shows a lot about this team that they were able to turn in this performance after their 12 game win streak was snapped the previous night. 

A lot of focus will be put on Kaedin Larocque-Wolfe’s game winning goal in overtime, and rightfully so, but the night that Chris Lai had should not be overlooked. He scored two shorthanded goals in the middle of this game, once to give the Jr Reign life and the other to give them the lead. 

Shorthanded goals were the theme for Ontario and they were responsible for the massive momentum shift that led the Jr Reign to victory. Lai was responsible for two and Baden Powell had the third, and all three happened in a flash on breakaway opportunities. Lai gathered an Amir Shakirov feed out of a faceoff for the first one. 

Powell, in a sequence that encompassed his spectacular two way play for this team, made a great defensive play on the puck to steal it away from a Fresno player and took it down two thirds of the ice by himself to score the second. Both goals happened a mere 18 seconds apart and suddenly the game was tied at 3-3. 

Eamon Julian lobbed a half court pass to Lai, who beat two Fresno defenders to the puck and buried the third shorthanded goal of the night, a franchise record. 

Speaking off special teams, while it was not a banner day for the Ontario PK allowing two goals against on 8 Fresno opportunities, the PK unit did however, stepped up in the biggest moment of the game and killed a massive four minute penalty not long after the Monsters tied the game at 4-4 in the third period. Despite not having their best outing, those efforts  during crunch time gave the Jr Reign a chance to win in overtime. 

Speaking of those who came through in the clutch after battling for over 60 minutes, it was one heck of a gutsy performance from Jr Reign goalie Josh Henson. It is not easy to keep one of the league's best offenses in check for 60 minutes, which makes it more impressive that he did it for 62 minutes. Henson showed incredible mental fortitude to shake off last night’s tough outing to keep Ontario in this game and limit Fresno to a season low four goals, including a point blank stop on Fresnos leading scorer Perrson that led to the game winning goal moments later. 

The night’s festivities included the national anthem performed by Danny Zico. As well, Ontario's own lyrical maestro and good friend of the program Hazerd was presented with an Ontario Jr Reign Jersey as a token of tge team's appreciation. Hazerd would go on to perform a number of his hits during the 1st intermission delighting the crowd. 

This series has been everything fans could have hoped for and more, don’t miss out on what is sure to be an equally exciting series finale today at 3:55 p.m. and purchase your tickets today!

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