OJR Sweeps Vegas to Keep Pace in First Place Race

by Sebastian Abdon Ibarra

The Ontario Jr Reign (26-7-0-1) completed an important series sweep of the Las Vegas Thunderbirds (19-11-1-0) this weekend to remain two points out of first in the division. 

Las Vegas was forced to forfeit their original victory in the first game of the series after one of their players participated in the game before completing their suspension. The Jr Reign were awarded a 1-0 victory, but all statistics will remain as recorded. Jonathan Anderson recorded his first goal of the season, while Kaedin Larocque-Wolfe and Rhys Doyle scored their 32nd goal and assist respectively. 

Baden Powell, Larocque-Wolfe, and Chris Lai each scored a pair in the 8-4 OJR victory on Saturday night. The Jr Reign sprinted out to a 5-1 lead through two periods. Lai has become somewhat of a shorthanded goal specialist this season for Ontario, putting pressure on Vegas in their own end and burying the pass from Eamon Julian to give Ontario a 3-1 lead. 

The Thunderbirds attempted to mount a comeback in the final period, but the Ontario offense went blow for blow with two Larocque-Wolfe goals and a Powell goal. With the NFL playoffs in full swing, Larocque-Wolfe channeled his inner defensive back and intercepted a Las Vegas pass out of the air and found the back of the net a few moments later for Ontario’s final goal of the night. 

Jettson Koch had the best night of anyone on the ice with a four point night consisting of three assists and a goal. Julian Arenal recorded his sixth win of the season and remains undefeated on the season to go along with his 2.30 GAA and .902 save percentage. 

Ontario won a 5-4 nailbiter on Sunday afternoon to complete the three game sweep. Koch was still riding the high of his four point performance from the night before and was instrumental in the OJR win with two goals and one assist. 

After a scoreless first period for both sides it was Koch who got the party started with his ninth goal of the season. It kicked off a period that featured six goals in total and a 3-3 tie heading into the third period. Once again it was Koch who broke the deadlock two minutes into the final period with Ontario’s only power play goal of the night. 

Lai added an insurance goal 15 minutes later which became even more important after Vegas cut the lead back to one with 50 seconds left. The Jr Reign defense held off Vegas’ desperate attempts for an equalizer to pick up the victory. 

The Jr Reign will be back in action at Ontario Center Ice Arena Saturday at 8:25 pm for a rivalry matchup with the San Diego Sabers. 

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