California Rubber

California’s and Nevada’s Authoritative Voice of Ice and Inline Hockey

USPHL’s Jr. Reign making noise, impact early in inaugural season


The Ontario Jr. Reign has jumped out of the gates in its first USPHL season, wrapping up last weekend with a two-game sweep over the Long Beach Shredders, also a first-year program.

Overall, the Jr. Reign is 4-3-0 in its first seven games within the Pacific Division with two more wins coming last month in a home-and-home sweep of the San Diego Sabers.

Ontario head coach Jeremy Blumes said the first couple weeks are just the tip of the iceberg for the Jr. Reign.

“We are a very hardworking group with a willingness to learn,” Blumes said. “Our leadership group sets a great example with their work ethic and doing things the right way. “

On the ice, Cole Kershaw and Sam Ryan lead the scoring brigade with four goals and 10 points each through the first seven games. Aiden Szautner has popped six goals and nine points, Junah Croteau has registered three goals and eight points, and Yegor Khomyakov has collected a half-dozen assists.

In goal, Logan Hendrickson has been the netminder of record for three of Ontario’s wins while Petr Mehall also has a victory between the pipes.

“We have a balanced lineup where each line, ‘D’ pair and netminder can make a difference on any given night,” Blumes said. “As we have only been together since the middle of September, we are still learning a great deal about tactics and systems. Our inaugural season is a process, and for us, it’s about where we are now along with where the direction is we are headed.

“Tactics and systems can be adopted as long as the culture is established. We know that in order for us to be successful we need to outwork the opposition.”

Blumes added that he has been impressed with how the team has looked to this point and is excited to see more development and wins as the season wears on.

“It starts with our leadership group and beyond that, there have been a number of players that have played well,” said Blumes. “That being said, one of our team principles is to get better every day, so we are excited to see that growth moving forward.”

This weekend, Ontario hosts the Lake Tahoe Lakers, another team in its first season, at Ontario Center Ice Arena for three games, starting Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Saturday’s game is 7:45 p.m., followed by the finale Sunday at 2:15 p.m.

Photo/Mike Zitek Photography

— Matt Mackinder

(October 13, 2021)

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