Reign edge Barracuda in 3-2 shootout win

Final score image from @ontarioreign 

by Marko Ukalovic

EL SEGUNDO, Calif—The Ontario Reign scored on all three shootout attempts to upend the San Jose Barracuda on Friday afternoon at the Toyota Sports Performance Center.

Kurtis Gabriel didn’t wait long to score is second goal of the pre-season. It took only 15 ticks into the game for him to get San Jose on the board. Gabriel redirected a Zach Gallant shot from atop the circle past Reign goaltender Jean-Francois Berube.

The Reign would manage to even the score on the power-play as 2020 second overall pick Quinton Byfield took advantage of a fortuitous bounce on a partially blocked shot below the right circle, and slid it into the open net for his second goal of the season at the at the13:35, mark..

The Barracuda outshot Ontario 11-7 in the opening 20 minutes.

In the second, with 51 seconds remaining in the frame, Ontario took its first lead as Blaine Byron intercepted a neutral-zone pass, cut to the slot as he entered the attacking zone, and beat ‘Cuda goalie Josef Korenar with a quick snipe for his first goal of the pre-season. 

Antti Suomela had a chance earlier in the period on a two-on-one rush but his shot from the far circle was turned aside by Berube. After two periods, the shots read 19 for each team.

In the third at 6:24, Ryan Merkley found Jayden Halbgewachs on the doorstep, for the equalizer for his second goal of the pre-season.

With under five minutes to play, the Barracuda nearly regained their lead on a similar play, this time Thomas Gregoire set up Gallant for a glorious close-range opportunity, but it wouldn’t go and the score would remain level.

Halfway through the three-on-three overtime, Ontario rushed up the ice on a two-on-one but Korenar came up large with a game-saving stop. Neither team would generate much in the way of offense in the remaining two and a half minutes.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda are back in preseason action on Wednesday 1/27 at 4:00 p.m. as they take on the Tucson Roadrunners at the Tucson Convention Center in Tucson, Arizona.

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