OJR Defense Steps Up in Series Finale

by Sebastian Abdon Ibarra

The Ontario Jr Reign (17-5-0-1) came up just short in an OT shootout against the Fresno Monsters (16-1-1-0) in an epic series finale that came down to the final shot. It was a series that became increasingly more competitive over the weekend. 

The Jr Reign’s team improved over the course of this series, keeping the Fresno offense to season-low goal totals on back to back nights. After Josh Henson’s 18 save performance in 62 minutes last night, Matus Trnka delivered a spectacular 37 save performance that included some jaw dropping saves, keeping the Monsters to a season low two goals in regulation and overtime. 

Photo by MIke Zitek

Cooper Kantola had a stellar performance, scoring the first goal of the game and assisting on the Jr Reign’s second. Rhys Doyle notched his 12th goal of the season to give Ontario a 2-0 lead in the first period. 

The Monsters would tie the game at 2-2 in the second period and from there it was a defensive slugfest between the two Pacific giants. Both goalies played exceptionally well and kept the game scoreless until it went to the shootout. 

The Monsters provided a tough challenge for the OJR this week, but the Jr Reign showed growth in the midst of the series’ pressures and hopefully, they will come out of it with some lessons learned. Following the weekend series the Monsters collected 5 of 6 points compared to 3 for the OJR. Ontario could have rolled over after the four goal loss in game one, but showed they could go toe to toe with Fresno in the final two games. Despite the loss Ontario still sits atop the Pacific standings heading into next week’s matchup with the Bakersfield Roughnecks. 

Sunday night’s crowd was treated to an Empire Mites Scrimmage during the first intermission, where the crowd was able to witness the next generation of great hockey athletes. A big thank you to the Empire Mites and their families for coming out!

Join us at Ontario Center Ice Arena this Friday at 8:40 p.m. when the Roughnecks come to town. Purchase your tickets today!

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