After back-to-back losses in Abbotsford, the Ontario Reign head to Bakersfield on Saturday for the first of two against the Condors

The Ontario Reign (11-4-0-1) will look to get back in the win column after dropping two-straight for the first time this season as they take on the Bakersfield Condors (6-6-1-1) on Saturday.

This will be the third meeting of the season between the two teams, with Ontario winning the first two by scores of 3-2 and 6-3, respectively.

The Condors have had a rough go of things schedule-wise of late. Their November 25th meeting against the Reign was postponed due to issues with the ice at Toyota Arena and each of their last two games was postponed due to COVID-19 protocol. Their last action came Saturday, November 27th in a 4-2 loss to the San Diego Gulls.

Tale of the Tape

Powerplay

ONT: 24.7% (2nd)

BAK: 20.3% (11th)

Penalty Kill

ONT: 74.3% (29th)

BAK: 79.6% (20th)

Goals Per Game

ONT: 4.06

BAK: 2.79

Goals Against Per Game

ONT: 3.06

BAK: 3.07

Key Players

ONT: Martin Frk – 10 goals, 12 assists, 22 points

BAK: Seth Griffith – 5 goals, 12 assists, 17 points

 

Here are three things to watch for on Saturday:

1. Akil Thomas’ Return

In what will be a welcome sight for Reign fans, Akil Thomas is expected to make his season debut against the Condors. He’s coming off of a strong rookie season in the AHL, scoring 11 goals and 26 points in 40 games during the shortened 2020-21 campaign.

A well-rounded player, Thomas has the ability to play up and down the lineup in multiple positions and should be an asset to all facets of the game for head coach John Wroblewski. It will be interesting to see where in the lineup he plays and if he’s on any special teams unit in his first game back.

During the November 13th episode of Making It Reign, The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler spoke highly of Thomas, noting that he is a “sneaky” name among the many highly-touted Kings prospects.

2. Possession Woes

Despite the Reign winning each of the first two games, the shot attempts were skewed heavily in favor of Bakersfield:

vs Bakersfield Shot Attempts For Shot Attempts Against CORSI CF%
All Strengths 89 127 -38 41.2%
All Strengths HD 27 36 -9 42.9%
5v5 55 96 -41 36.4%
5v5 HD 18 22 -4 45.0%

Ontario was also out-shot 37-28 and 40-19, respectively, in the two games but still came out with a pair of wins. With the combination of the power-play slowing down a bit in recent games and the goaltending not playing as well as it was at the start of the season, it’ll be tough to expect the Reign to come out on top again if they are as heavily out-shot and out-possessed as they were in the first two meetings.

3. Penalty Kill

The Ontario penalty kill is among the worst in the AHL (29th) and it has performed even worse than its 74.3% season clip during this recent stretch of six games (where they’ve gone 2-4). Over that stretch, Ontario has allowed nine power-play goals against in 32 attempts — just 71.9%.

In the two meetings this season, the Reign did kill 10 of 12 (83.3%), but Bakersfield does have one of the most productive players with the man advantage in Griffith as 12 of his 17 points (four goals and eight assists) have come on the power-play.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT and can be seen on AHLTV.

Akil Thomas set to make Ontario Reign season debut on Saturday

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