Though coming off an overtime loss to San Jose, the Ontario Reign finished a five-game homestand 4-0-1. They head to San Diego on Saturday.
The Ontario Reign hopes to start a new winning streak as they take on the San Diego Gulls
Tale of the tape:
ONT: 27.3% (1st)
SD: 18.2% (24th)
ONT: 76.3% (28th)
SD: 79.4 (22nd)
ONT: 203 (1st)
SD: 136 (30th)
ONT: 154 (14th)
SD: 154 (15th)
ONT: T.J. Tynan – 11 goals, 63 points, 74 points
SD: Nikolas Brouillard – 9 goals, 20 assists, 29 points
Three things to watch for in tonight’s matchup:
1. Fagemo on fire
Over his last seven games, Samuel Fagemo has points in each of them and eight in total (4+4). The Swedish winger has 19 goals this season, good for third on the team. During this seven-game point streak, he’s consistently played with Rasmus Kupari as his center. Kupari has a pair of goals and assists during the same stretch and has looked dangerous on the penalty kill as well.
For Fagemo, he’s been a more consistent point producer during the 2021-22 season and also had a four-game cup of coffee in Los Angeles.
The 21-year-old has been one of the better defensive forward on the Reign (per Sean O’Brien’s point-shares model). It’s encouraging that the shoot-first winger has been able to be a quiet point producer as well as a strong contributor to the defensive side of the game.
Unfortunately for Fagemo, Kupari was called up to Los Angeles for the weekend so he will have a different center on Saturday.
2. Gulls on the bubble
San Diego is clinging to the seventh and final playoff spot in the Pacific division. Their win over the Bakersfield Condors on Friday ended a three-game losing streak and kept them in a playoff position. The Gulls sit three points ahead of San Jose and four up on Tucson.
The good news for the Reign is two of San Diego’s top scorers, Danny O’Regan and Vinni Lettieri have been called up to Anaheim. The Gulls have played Ontario seven times this season with the Reign winning six of them.
As the second-lowest scoring team in the league, if the Reign are able to get ahead early, the Gulls are not built to chase a game.
3. Thomas’ struggles
We’ve started to hear some chatter around the lack of production from Akil Thomas. Sure, it’s true, Thomas has picked up just two assists since his season debut in early December. Needless to say, from a point-shares standpoint, he hasn’t graded out too well:
That said, I think it’s reasonable that we take a step back with our expectations of Akil Thomas. He is coming off of double shoulder surgery so it’d be unfair to judge him off of just 22 games since his recovery.
At 22 years old, Thomas is still an intriguing prospect and one that on an early episode of Making It Reign, the Athletic’s Scott Wheeler made a point to single out as one of the most exciting prospects in the Kings’ system.
At the end of the day, it’s important not to read too much into a small sample of games coming off of a significant offseason surgery. As the season goes on, he could see an increased role, and that could be as soon as Saturday with Kupari’s call-up to the Kings.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7 pm PT on Saturday and can be seen on AHLTV.