The Ontario Reign takes on the division-leading Stockton Heat on Friday in the first of two games between the division’s top two teams.
Tale of the Tape
ONT: 27.6% (1st)
STK: 19.7% (15th)
ONT: 75.0% (29th)
STK: 89.3% (1st)
Goals Per Game
ONT: 4.08 (1st)
STK: 3.43 (9th)
Goals Against Per Game
ONT: 3.05 (12th)
STK: 2.40 (1st)
ONT: T.J. Tynan – 8 goals, 40 assists, 48 points
STK: Matthew Phillips – 18 goals, 19 assists, 37 points
Here are three things to watch tonight:
Both of these teams are high-scoring teams. With the Reign being first in the AHL in goals scored and Stockton being 9th, this should be a high-scoring game. These teams have scored 278 goals in a total of 74 games overall this season. Over the last few weeks, the Reign have been putting the puck in the net at a tremendous pace, and this could give them an advantage if they can score a lot and score early. Out of their last five games, there has only been one game the Heat have played that didn’t end in a one-goal differential. Ontario is winning by larger margins, generally, but they are losing by one goal when they do. In fact, the last game between these two teams was a 2-1 win for Stockton.
Pre deadline impressions
The All-Star break is over and the NHL is getting back into the swing of things. The trade deadline is 38 days from now and that’s going to mean a few things for the Ontario Reign. What’s going to happen with the big club? Are there going to be roster spots? This is the final month for certain players to say that they should be called up for the final push to the playoffs and there is going to be a lot of competition. Players like Martin Frk, Gabriel Vilardi, and Vladimir Tkachev can claim that it’s time for them to be called up to the Kings during this final stretch before the March Christmas for hockey fans.
The division is on the line
The playoffs are not exactly tomorrow, but we are working toward them quickly. Both the Reign and the Heat are right at their halfway points of the season and both are in contention for the division lead. With a back-to-back coming today and tomorrow, the Reign are looking to take the lead in the division by sweeping the weekend. If they can take two in regulation, they will be able to take control of the divisional lead. Home-ice advantage is going to be huge in the AHL this year, given how great all the teams who are going to make the playoffs have been.
The Reign fandom has been supercharged this year and they are coming out in droves to see this team win. The Reign need to take the lead against Stockton in the standings and run with it as soon as possible so that they can secure their home-ice advantage, in the hopes that it creates some playoff success.
Puck drop is at 7:00 pm PT and can be seen on AHLTV. See you there, Reign fans!