Ontario Reigns Atop The Pacific

by Sebastian Abdon Ibarra

The Ontario Jr Reign (10-4-0) defeated the San Diego Sabers (3-11-1) by a score of 3-2 to take sole possession of first place in the USPHL’s Pacific division. The home ice victory at Center Ice Arena was not only the OJR’s sixth consecutive win, but also marks them as the first team in the division to reach double digit wins. 

Photo by Sophia Mitchell

Julian Arenal got the start in goal for this one, it was his first game action since Oct. 1 in Las Vegas and he made the most of the opportunity. Bones made 20 saves on 22 shots including many key saves down the stretch to preserve the one goal lead. This included denying any San Diego attempt at an equalizer with a faceoff in Ontario’s own end in the last 2.5 seconds of the game. 

It was a tight and intense affair from start to finish, with all of the scoring happening for both sides in the second period. The Sabers were be the ones to strike first in the early moments of the second period. The OJR answered on the power play, taking advantage of the five minute major infraction committed by San Diego’s Markus Gill. Eamon Julian capitalized on the mistake, banging in his second goal of the year off a rebound created by a low hard shot by Nick Fiolleau. 

For a game that only had two goals through 27 minutes, the next three happened in quick succession. In the span of two minutes the Jr Reign gained the lead, lose it, and then gain it back. Tristen Friedman tucked one home after beating the defender one on one - Friedman was sprung by Baden Powell denying the Sabers entry into the zone. The Sabers tied it back up at 2-2 shortly thereafter, but it was Shakirov who scored the game winning goal, driving home a quick release as he stepped into the zone, his first of the season, to give Ontario the lead once and for all in the final two minutes of the period. 

It was Armed Forces Appreciation Night at Ontario Center Ice Arena, a night full of honoring those who gave us and those who continue to give us the privilege to call this country the Land of the Free. We were honored to host both Radioman Second Class John Heilman and grandfather of Jr Reign forward Jonathan Anderson. Additionally, the Cal Poly Pomona Choir helped get the night started with the singing of our National Anthem. The night also would not have been complete without the wonderful people over at Bob Hope USO coming out to support the Jr Reign and inform our attendees of their volunteer opportunities. 

Friday night’s 6th men were Empire hockey player’s Kat, Jack, and Jake Odell, and billet siblings to Rhys Dole and Jett Koch. All three happily announced the starting lineup in the OJR dressing room. 

The intermission performers Zzay and Fam Likely rocked the crowd with their energetic and uplifting performances in the first and second intermissions respectively. Bubba’s Tacos provided the tasty tacos that were devoured during the intermissions. 

Mark your calendars for the Jr Reign’s return to Ontario Center Ice Arena Friday Nov. 24 at 3:55 p.m. when they welcome the Fresno Monsters. Catch all the high flying, hard hitting hockey action and purchase your tickets today! 

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