The Ontario Reign hit the road for the first time this season as they take on the Abbotsford Canucks on Friday night.
After a 4-0-0-1 start on the season-opening five-game homestand, the Ontario Reign hit the road for their first road trip of the season. It starts with back-to-back games against the Abbotsford Canucks on Friday and Saturday nights. Abbotsford is off to a nice start of their own, sitting at 3-1-1, and haven’t lost in regulation since their opening night defeat to Bakersfield.
The two teams have played twice already this season, with Abbotsford picking up their first win in franchise history in the second game of the season with a 3-2 shootout win. The Reign would answer with a 4-3 overtime win just two nights later.
Two defensemen — Jacob Moverare (1-4-5) and Kale Clague (0-4-4) — are in the top five in scoring for Ontario. Clague, however, has been called up to the Los Angeles Kings due to injuries to Drew Doughty and Sean Walker.
Matt Villalta has been outstanding in goal for the Reign. He is 3-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average and .931 save percentage. Given the back-to-back scenario with Abbotsford, I’d expect he will split the two with Garret Sparks, who made 35 saves in a 3-2 win against the Bakersfield Condors.
For Abbotsford, Justin Bailey leads the team in goals (3) and points (6). However, he was called up to Vancouver, so he will not be available for the AHL Canucks. Behind him, former Reign Sheldon Rempal leads the team in assists (4) and is second in points (4). Sheldon Dries, Danila Klimovich, and Nic Petan are all tied with two goals each.
In goal, Arturs Silovs and Michael DiPietro have split the five games so far. In two games, Silovs is 2-0 with a 0.96 goals-against average and a .968 save percentage. He was excellent against Ontario in the Canucks’ shootout win, stopping 34 of 36 shots in regulation and overtime, as well as all four shootout shots. DiPietro didn’t fare quite as well against the Reign, allowing four goals on 30 shots in the 4-3 loss. Overall, DiPietro is 1-1-1 with a 3.27 goals-against average and a .882 save percentage.
In their five games, Ontario is 6-for-23 on the power play (26.1%). Frk and Burke lead in goals with the man advantage (2), while Tynan leads in assists (3) and points (3).
On the penalty kill, the Reign have killed 13-of-18 (72.2%).
For Abbotsford, they are 4-for-20 (20%) on the power-play. Dries leads in goals (2) and is tied in points with Rempal (2).
Here’s how the Reign fared in shot-attempts against the Canucks’ in the two games earlier this season:
|vs. Abbotsford||Shot Attempts For||Shot Attempts Against||CORSI||CF%|
|All Strengths HD||40||32||8||55.6%|
- Opportunity knocks for Jordan Spence and Helge Grans. With Clague and Austin Strand in L.A. seemingly for the foreseeable future, there’s going to be more opportunity for ice time for the two first-year defensemen.
- Markus Phillips is a left-shot defenseman who could see more time. He’s only played one game so far but has a history with Sean Durzi.
- Jacob Moverare is already playing big minutes for the Reign, but he could start to see some power-play time in Clague’s absence.
- Seven defensemen have played more than one game — six of those seven have points and five of them multiple. As has been noted, however, two of those are now in L.A.
- The Tyler Madden breakout is coming. He’s arguably been the best forward not named Tynan, and his 15 shots on goal are second on the team only to Frk (19).
- Speaking of shots on goal, Clague’s 11 shots from the back-end are the most by any Reign defenseman (no one else has more than six). If it isn’t clear yet, it’s a big hole to fill.
- Among players who have played all five games, Alex Turcotte has the second-fewest shots on goal (6). Helped by his three-assist performance against Bakersfield, he does have four points on the season. This isn’t meant to ring any alarm bells, but given the anemic offense in L.A., if he can start to produce on a consistent basis, he could get an NHL look at some point this season.
Puck Drop and Broadcast Info
- Friday, October 29 at 7:00 p.m. P.T.