This week, the Reign Train kept moving at full steam as the Ontario Reign picked up wins over the San Jose Barracuda and the Bakersfield Condors. The Reign outscored opponents 6-4 cumulatively and continued their hot start to the season.
Here are the three stars of the past week.
The Reign’s 4-3 win over the Barracuda was sparked by Akil Thomas, starting a four-goal second period. Without the spark from Thomas, the Reign would have been held down by a 1-0 deficit and may not have been able to eke out a win. Of course, a team scoring four goals per game probably isn’t going to fall 1-0 in a game. Thomas is off to a great start this season, scoring nearly a point per game. His four goals and six points on the season are well above pace from his shortened 2021-22 campaign. It seems that Thomas has finally arrived in his role for the Reign, and maybe we may see him vying for a spot on the Kings fairly soon.
— Ontario Reign (@ontarioreign) October 30, 2022
The Reign have had some good goaltending over the last couple of years, but Pheonix Copley is really settling in in his first season in Ontario. Over the previous two games, Copley has posted a .904 save percentage and 2.56 goals against average and made sure that the Reign have a chance to win night in, night out. Copley’s whole season has been good over his five starts, posting a .935 Save percentage to start the campaign. The 29-year-old isn’t a long-term solution for the Reign, but he is having a great start to the year.
The Penalty Kill
In the last two games, the Reign were short-handed ten times, allowing just one goal for a penalty kill rate of 90%. After having one of the league’s worst penalty kills last season, this has been one of the bright spots of the 2022-23 season. At 85.2%, Ontario’s penalty kill is sixth in the AHL. The goaltending from Copley is undoubtedly having a positive effect on the kill in the early part of the season. With how good the power play is if they’re able to pair that with a strong penalty kill, it will make the Reign that much more dangerous.
We’ll be back next week with the Three Stars for Ontario!