For the second time already this season, the Ontario Reign put five goals past the San Diego gulls, this time beating them 5-1 on Saturday night. The win capped off a very successful five-game homestand to start the season, with the Reign going 4-0-0-1.

Game Recap

A little more line-juggling from head coach John Wroblewski:

The Reign controlled large chunks of this game, and they got on the board just inside the six-minute mark of the opening period when Aidan Dudas took an excellent feed from Jacob Moverare and showed off his good hands and quick release:

Less than a minute later, Brayden Burke was the beneficiary of a fortuitous bounce to put the hosts up 2-0:

Ontario would outshoot San Diego 11-8 in the first period and entered the second with the 2-0 lead.

The Reign would then strike on the power-play in what could have been the prettiest goal of the night, which was an excellent passing play from Tyler Madden to TJ Tynan before it went to Jaret Anderson-Dolan for the finish:

The Drew Doughty injury is a big blow to the Los Angeles Kings. However, for Ontario, it’s given Helge Grans a chance to step back into the lineup as Austin Strand was called up to the Kings. Grans took advantage of that on this play, setting up Austin Wagner for the fourth Reign goal:

The second period was dominant for the Reign. With the help of some excellent power-play looks, they held a 14-5 edge in high-danger shot attempts in the middle frame.

San Diego got on the board just seconds into the third period as Vinni Lettieri found himself in a lot of open ice to put home a power-play goal:

That’d be it for the Gulls, but the Reign weren’t finished. Samuel Fagemo put the dagger in with 59 seconds left in the game.

It was an impressive win for the Ontario Reign, who has put the early season nightmare from last season well behind them with this start.

Matt Villalta was excellent yet again. He turned away 33 of the Gulls’ 34 shots.

Final Shot Attempts

vs. San Diego Shot Attempts For Shot Attempts Against CORSI CF%
All Strengths 59 61 -2 49.17%
All Strengths HD 32 18 14 64.00%
5v5 48 58 -10 45.28%
5v5 HD 25 17 8 59.52%

Box Score

The entire box score can be found here.

Thoughts and Takeaways:

  • If ever there was a game where the shots-on-goal and even shot attempts didn’t tell the story, it was this one. Despite the Gulls holding the edge in shots, overall attempts, and attempts at 5-on-5, they were never in this one.
  • Ontario may not have had the better of San Diego in overall attempts but dominated the high-danger area with a 32-18 edge.
  • Don’t look now, but the goaltending in Ontario is a strength. Villalta seemed extremely comfortable in this one, and his start to the season (not to mention Jacob Ingham and Garret Sparks) is precisely what the Reign and their fans were hoping to see.
  • The first couple of shifts of this game were a little slow — then Tynan’s line got on the ice. They spent a considerable amount of time in the Gulls’ zone, and from that point on, the ice was tilted toward the visitors’ net.
  • This was only his second game of the season, but boy did Helge Grans look steady in this one. He seemed to have much more confidence in playing with the puck, and he even picked up two assists to boot.
  • Ontario’s first power-play unit didn’t quite click tonight, as we’ve seen in previous games. They did score a power-play goal, but it was off of a rush. The second unit, however, really poured shots toward the Gulls’ net in the second period. It’ll be nice if Ontario can have two teams clicking.
  • Reign defensemen seemed as if they smelled blood in the water whenever they were in the offensive zone. We’ve talked about it often, but they were continuously up in the play in the offensive zone, keeping pucks in at the blueline and forcing the hands of the San Diego wingers.
  • I was impressed with Dudas’ goal. A set-play off a faceoff, Moverare with a very calm pass to Dudas and the way the Parry Sound native ever-so-slightly pulls the puck into his body away from the defender, yet can still get enough on the shot to beat the goaltender. That was a high-end skill play.
  • A player that I’ve referenced a lot early this season is Madden. I feel pretty confident in saying he’s been the Reign best forward not named “TJ,” and he was excellent again against the Gulls. The pass he made to Tynan leading to the JAD goal was a fantastic play from someone a bit more of a shooter. He’s having a great start to the season.
  • 4-0-0-1 after five games. Not too shabby!

The Reign will now have nearly a whole week off after the successful homestand. They’ll play again on Friday night in Abbotsford.

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