After a 4-0-1 homestand, the Reign fell to the Gulls in San Diego on Saturday. Olle Eriksson Ek stopped 22 shots to blank Ontario.
On Star Wars Night in San Diego, the Ontario Reign can’t make the jump to light speed and suffer their first shutout of the year in a 4-0 loss.
4:49 SD- Benoit-Olivier Groulx (9)
3:28 SD- Benoit-Olivier Groulx (10)
1. Shutout! Shutout? Really?
The Ontario Reign suffered their 1st shutout of the year. Yes, you read that right. The team that came into this game with an AHL-leading 203 goals came away empty. Zilch. Nada. Rien. However, let’s not panic. This was bound to happen at some point. Teams don’t typically go an entire season without a whitewashing and the Reign is no exception. The bright side of this story is that Ontario will have until next Friday to regain its scoring touch.
2. Domino Effect
Injuries to Drew Doughty, Mikey Anderson, Viktor Arvidsson, Brendan Lemieux, and Andreas Athanasiou, have forced the Reign to undergo a major shake-up over the past week. Jordan Spence, Jacob Moverare, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, and Lias Andersson were all recalled to the Kings to deal with a spate of injuries with the big club. Now that Dustin Brown and Matt Roy also left Saturday’s game in San Jose with injuries, more changes are probably in store for the Reign.
3. Next Man Up
Between now and the Reign’s next game on Friday against Bakersfield, more callups should be expected. Will Austin Strand be recalled to shore up the Kings’ depleted defense corps? Given the dire situation in LA, it would seem that the long-anticipated recall of Gabe Vilardi is imminent. The 22-year-old forward has 15 goals in 39 games for Ontario this year and has scored 14 goals with the Kings over parts of three seasons. Regardless of who gets called up, both the Reign and the Kings are going to have very different looks for the remainder of the year.
While Ontario is virtually assured of a playoff spot, the Kings cannot afford to have a prolonged losing streak if they want to make the playoffs for the first time since 2018. Simply put, veterans and rookies alike are going to have to step up big time for the rest of the year.
Next Up: Ontario vs Bakersfield, March 18th, Toyota Area, 7:00 PST.