The Ontario Reign are back in action against the division rivals after four days off.
Tale of the Tape
ONT: 27.11% (1st)
SD: 16.6% (26th)
ONT: 76.3% (28th)
SD: 79.2% (22nd)
Goals Per Game
ONT: 4.05 (1st)
SD: 2.78 (31st)
Goals Against Per Game
ONT: 3.15 (15th)
SD: 3.31 (16th)
ONT: T.J. Tynan – 8 goals, 44 assists, 55 points
SD: Brayden Tracy– 9 goals, 17 assists, 26 points
The Ontario Reign looks to come out with a win against the rival San Diego Gulls.
Here are three things to watch:
Righting the ship
After a tremendous start to the season, the Ontario Reign are beginning to slump. Winners of two of their last five, Ontario can snap a two-game skid with a win against the Gulls. San Diego is riding a two-game winning streak, scoring a little more than they normally do.
This doesn’t spell doom and gloom for the Reign but should, at the very least, make them focus more on defensive suppression. This is, unfortunately, something the team has not been great at throughout the year. If the Reign can limit shots against, they can find a way to forge a win out of the game.
The continued rise of Jordan Spence
While there are defensive lapses on every professional team, at every level, there are still stars in the making in Ontario. One of those is Jordan Spence. The rookie blueliner has a chokehold on this season and continues to impress.
Spence currently holds the highest scoring point streak in the AHL with 18 points in 13 games spanning from January 2 to February 4. He scores at nearly a point per game and is a +12 on the season.
The deep metrics would show a very strong CF% in his game. He also is not very penalized, showing a .59 PIMG so he is generally available to play in most situations.
A defenseman who is not penalized very often is an asset on any team and Spence is proving how valuable he is to the Reign night after night.
Pushing for a bye
This year, divisional play is going to be a very important part of the AHL playoffs. With 23 total teams qualifying for the playoffs, there is ample opportunity to skip a massive play-in round as long as a team ends at the top of the division.
The Reign are working hard this season to take that top spot and sit two points behind Stockton in the standings. As of this writing, Stockton has a game in hand on the Reign so they are controlling their own destiny.
Outside of a major collapse, it looks like the Reign and the Heat will end up top of the division. If Ontario can’t overcome the distance against the Heat, they will end up in the larger play-in round.
A three-game series against – if it started today – the Gulls would be at hand. With the Reign winning 4 of the last 5 meetings this season between the teams, one can only hope that the playoffs would prove winnable.
Hopefully, Ontario can pull ahead of Stockton and take the bye, but the team cannot count its chickens before they hatch; one game at a time.
Puck drop is at 7:00pm PT. See you there, Reign fans!