After five days off, the Ontario Reign begins a three-game homestand on Friday against the Bakersfield Condors.
The Ontario Reign looks to bounce back after being shutout for the first time of the season last Saturday in San Diego. On Friday, they’ll welcome the Bakersfield Condors to Toyota Arena.
Tale of the tape:
BAK: 18.0% (25th)
ONT: 27.1% (1st)
BAK: 79.9% (22nd)
ONT: 76.7 (26th)
BAK: 161 (18th)
ONT: 203 (1st)
BAK: 147 (6th)
ONT: 158 (13th)
BAK: Seth Griffith – 20 goals, 35 assists, 55 points
ONT: T.J. Tynan – 11 goals, 63 points, 74 points
Three things to watch for on Friday:
1. Lineup changes
With all of the injuries in Los Angeles, we’re expecting the lineup to look a fair bit different. Here is how the Reign lined up in their last game in San Diego:
Almost showtime in San Diego! Here's how the @ontarioreign lineup will look tonight.
Burke — Tynan — Frk
Tkachev — Vilardi — Fagemo
Sutter — Thomas — Wagner
Ulett — Pavlychev — Doty
Gaunce — Grans
Kasastul — Strand
Phillips — Lohan
— Jared Shafran (@ShafReign) March 13, 2022
Among that group, Martin Frk, Gabriel Vilardi, and Austin Strand joined the already called-up Jacob Moverare, Jordan Spence, and Rasmus Kupari to the NHL. Given that the Kings play on Sunday, barring some positive injury news I wouldn’t expect these three in the Ontario lineup on Friday. They will have Christian Wolanin back, however, who was sent back down on Thursday with the return of Alexander Edler.
The Reign have had a next-man-up approach most of this season with the likes of Christian Kasastul and Brayden Burke being contributing players when the lineup gets thin. They, among others, will be relied upon again on Friday.
2. Find the net
Ok, this hasn’t been a problem all season as the Reign are the highest-scoring team in the league. However, they did just suffer their first goalless game of the season last Saturday and, as alluded to above, they’re going to be missing some firepower.
On a related note, one of the things to watch for is how effective the power-play is. The number one unit is going to be missing four of the five players that have been key contributors to this season’s success. Of course, the league’s leading scorer, T.J. Tynan, is still here. In addition to Tynan, the power-play is likely to run through Helge Grans, who took over first-unit duties upon Jordan Spence‘s call-up. Samuel Fagemo is another player who will likely get a look, I would expect him in Martin Frk‘s spot on the left circle. There is going to be an opportunity for others to step into larger roles, but when the team has struggled at 5-on-5, the power-play has been there to bail this team out. It didn’t happen on Saturday, we’ll see with a week of practice how things look on Friday.
3. Scouting Bakersfield
The Condors currently sit in fourth place in the Pacific Division – tied in points with Abbotsford – and are coming off a two-game set against the Stockton Heat, splitting those games earlier this week. In the month of March, Bakersfield is 3-4 including a 3-2 loss to the Reign on March 7th.
In the 2021-22 season, the Reign are 5-1-1 against Bakersfield, with five of those games being one-goal games.
Bakersfield leading scorer, Seth Griffith, has been a thorn in the side of the Reign this season. In the seven games the two teams have played, Griffith has seven goals and 11 points, including four power-play goals. That said, Ontario could be seeing Griffith at a good time as he has gone goalless in his last seven games.
Between the pipes, Stuart Skinner has started each of the last two games for Bakersfield. He is seventh in the AHL in save percentage (.922).
Puck drop is scheduled for 7 pm PT and can be seen on AHLTV.