Mike Amadio celebrated his 20th birthday by scoring his first professional goal at 6:29 of overtime to give the Ontario Reign a 4-3 win and a 3-1 series lead over the San Diego Gulls in the Pacific Division Finals on Friday night.
The teams head up I-15 and go at it again tomorrow night in Ontario (10 p.m. ET, AHL Live) with the Reign looking to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
Amadio, a third-round draft choice by the Los Angeles Kings in 2014 who scored 50 goals for North Bay (OHL) this season, collected a hard rebound off the end wall and beat Matt Hackett (33 saves) from the right circle to cap a wild finish at the Valley View Casino Center.
San Diego scored the first goal of the contest for the third game in a row, converting on the front half of a high-sticking double minor against the Reign’s Kris Newbury. The Gulls worked the puck back to Shea Theodore, whose shot from the point found its way through a crowd for his second goal of the playoffs at 7:21 of the second period.
For the third game in a row, the Gulls took a 1-0 lead into the third period. But the Reign tied things up 3:47 into the final frame as Nic Dowd split a pair of San Diego defenders at the blue line, skated in and picked the corner over Hackett’s glove for his third goal of the postseason.
The teams then combined for four goals in a span of 3:04, beginning when the Gulls grabbed the lead back with 8:58 to play. Brandon Montour’s shot from the right point was deflected by Kyle MacKinnon and again by Chris Mueller before settling behind Peter Budaj (25 saves) to make it 2-1. But Ontario tied it up again 1:02 later when Adrian Kempe raced in on the right wing and beat Hackett, drawing the Reign even at 2-2 with 7:56 to go.
Ontario then moved in front for the first time in the game with 6:04 remaining on Kempe’s second goal of the period, but the Gulls needed just 10 seconds to knot the score back up when Andrew Welinski sent a long pass to Mueller, who snapped a shot past Budaj to make it 3-3.
The rest of regulation was scoreless, setting up Amadio’s heroics and the Reign’s second overtime win of the series.
Pacific Division Finals – Series “L” (best-of-7)
P1-Ontario Reign vs. P2-San Diego Gulls
Game 1 – Thu., May 5 – ONTARIO 5, San Diego 3
Game 2 – Sat., May 7 – Ontario 2, SAN DIEGO 1 (OT)
Game 3 – Sun., May 8 – San Diego 3, ONTARIO 0
Game 4 – Fri., May 13 – Ontario 4, SAN DIEGO 3 (OT)
Game 5 – Sat., May 14 – San Diego at Ontario, 10:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 16 – Ontario at San Diego, 10:05
*Game 7 – Wed., May 18 – San Diego at Ontario, 10:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern
— AHL (@TheAHL) May 14, 2016