In their first playoff game in four years at Toyota Arena, the Reign fought off a shaky start to take a 7-4 win over San Diego.

With the victory, the Ontario Reign will look to close out the best-of-three series on Thursday to advance to the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs.


1st Period

SD: Josh Lopina (1) ASST Jacob Perreault (1), Alex Limoges (1)

SD: Hunter Drew (1) ASST Nikolas Brouillard (1), Drew Helleson (1)

ONT: Samuel Fagemo (1) ASST Vladimir Tkachev (1), Alex Turcotte (1)

ONT: Austin Wagner (1) (SH)

ONT: Samuel Fagemo (2) ASST Christian Wolanin (1), Vladimir Tkachev (2)

2nd Period

ONT: Vladimir Tkachev (1) ASST Alex Turcotte (2), Christian Wolanin (2)

3rd Period

SD: Trevor Carrick (1) ASST Drew Helleson (2), Blake McLaughlin (1)

ONT: Akil Thomas (1) ASST Taylor Ward (1)

ONT: Martin Frk (1) ASST T.J. Tynan (1), Nelson Nogier (1)

ONT: Akil Thomas (2) ASST Aidan Dudas (1)

SD: Alex Limoges (1) ASST Olen Zellweger (1), Hunter Drew (1)


ONT: 39

SD: 26

Power Plays

ONT: 2/4

SD: 0/4

1. Balanced Scoring

On Wednesday, the team that scored 259 goals during the regular AHL season showed up in Game One of this series. The Ontario Reign had ten players record at least one point and got back to their scoring in bunches mojo at just the right time. Although trailing after just 11 seconds into the game, the Reign settled down and let their superior offense take over. Ontario improved to 7-0 against San Diego at Toyota Arena this season with the win.

2. Excellent Special Teams

The Reign began Calder Cup play on Wednesday, boasting a record-setting AHL power play percentage of 27.8 % during the regular season. After getting down 2-0 early in the first period, their potent man advantage helped them turn the deficit into a 3-2 lead heading into the first intermission. Perhaps more importantly, Ontario killed off all four San Diego power plays and even got a beautiful shorthanded goal from Austin Wagner to tie the game at two in the opening frame. Given that Ontario finished 27th in the AHL on the penalty kill during the regular season, such a strong PK showing will hopefully be a sign of great things to come.

3. Vladimir Tkachev

The 26-year-old Russian forward has had his up and downs with the Reign this season, but he had a monster game on Wednesday when the team needed him the most. Tkachev finished the night with a power play goal and two assists, one of which came on the power play. If Tkachev can consistently use his playmaking skills on the man advantage, the Reign will be in very good shape going forward.

Next Up: Ontario Reign vs. San Diego Gulls, May 5th, 7:00 pm PT, Toyota Arena in Game 2 of the best-of-three series.

(Main photo credit: Ontario Reign)