After back-to-back overtime wins, the Ontario Reign will play host to the Pacific Division-leading Stockton Heat on Sunday.

The top two teams in the Pacific Division square off on Sunday afternoon as the Ontario Reign meet the Stockton Heat.

Stockton (20-5-2-1) have lost three of their last five games, including a 4-1 loss in San Diego on Friday. The Reign (16-6-2-1) also played the Gulls in their most recent game, a 5-4 overtime win on Saturday.

It’ll be the third meeting of the season between the two teams, they split a back-to-back set at Toyota Arena on November 21st and 22nd.

Tale of the Tape

Powerplay

ONT: 24.5% (2nd)

STK: 19.0% (15th)

Penalty Kill

ONT: 72.7% (30th)

STK: 90.6% (1st)

Goals Per Game

ONT: 3.80

STK: 3.46

Goals Against Per Game

ONT: 3.12

STK: 2.36

Key Players

ONT: T.J. Tynan – 6 goals, 22 assists, 28 points (1.47 points per game)

STK: Jacob Pelletier – 11 goals, 18 assists, 29 points (1.04 points per game)

Here are three things to watch for on Sunday:

1. Pacific’s best

The Ontario Reign goes from the bottom end of the division against San Diego to the top against Stockton. Though they’ve been one of the higher scoring teams in the league, it’s been their defensive game that has been most impressive. Their 2.36 goals allowed per game is the lowest in the AHL and they also boast the league’s top penalty kill.

In goal, Dustin Wolf’s .940 save percentage is tops in the West and second in the AHL. He brings with him a 15-1-2 record and has been one of the league’s best all season. With Adam Werner playing Friday’s game, we can expect to see Wolf in goal on Sunday.

When it comes to the offense, they have three players in the top-20 in AHL scoring, led by Pelletier’s 29 points. Glenn Gawdin (26 points) and Matthew Phillips (24 points) have also been productive for the Heat.

2. Lukas Parik’s crease

Lukas Parik made his AHL debut on Saturday against San Diego after Garret Sparks came out of the game with an injury.

The 20-year-old goaltender was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2019 NHL draft by the Kings. He has spent the 2021-22 season in the ECHL with the Rapid City Rush. The Czech native has been very strong, posting a 9-4-3 record with a 2.36 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage.

The situation between the pipes has gotten suddenly thin for the Ontario Reign. Matt Villalta hasn’t played since the team’s overtime loss in Bakersfield on December 29th.

3. Vilardi – Byfield – Madden

The trio of Gabriel Vilardi, Quinton Byfield, and Tyler Madden was put together for Saturday’s game and they were arguably the best line on the ice. They combined for a goal and three assists to go along with 12 shots on goal. Byfield’s five shots on goal were a game-high.

Each of the three could have walked away with a couple of goals, but they ran into a strong goaltending performance. They each continued to see power-play time with Vilardi manning the right-circle on the top unit in Martin Frk‘s absence while Byfield and Madden connected a few times on the second unit.

These days, it’s close to impossible to try and predict who’s going to be in the Ontario Reign lineup, let alone the line combinations. But if these three can stay together, it should give Stockton some problems.

The puck is scheduled to drop at 3 p.m. PT and can be seen on AHLTV.

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