Three Takeaways from the Ontario Reign’s 3-1 loss to the Tucson Roadrunners
The Ontario Reign looked a step behind as they fall 3-1 to the Tucson Roadrunners on Saturday night.
TUC: Travis Barron (3) ASST: Bokondji Imama (2), Hudson Elynuik (3)
ONT: Aidan Dudas (6) ASST: Samuel Helenius (4) Martin Chromiak (2)
TUC : Jean-Sebastien Dea (8) ASST : Micheal Carcone (15), Cam Dineen (6)
TUC: Adam Cracknell (5) ASST: Victor Soderstrom (8)
THREE THINGS TO DISCUSS
Dudas keeps the Reign alive
Though the Roadrunners found the first tally of the evening, Aidan Dudas didn’t allow them to keep their lead for very long. Just one minute and 48 seconds later, Dudas chased a puck exiting the Tucson zone back over the blue line and took a rebound from a Samuel Helenius shot to the hole.
Hey @AidanDudas we see you bud #ReignTrain 👁️👁️ pic.twitter.com/Znrq2Af0R9
— Ontario Reign (@ontarioreign) November 27, 2022
Dudas has been growing into a solid player, very quietly. At 22 years old, Dudas has 42 points in 120 games played for the Reign, putting him in the bottom 6 category for the team. Dudas is currently on pace for approximately 30 points on the year. With Ontario’s log jam being what it is, it’s likely that Dudas will remain on the team for the foreseeable future. This could open up a really great opportunity for the young winger. As he grows into his potential and maybe packs on a few pounds of muscle (he is listed at 170 lbs), he could become a reliable middle-six forward for Ontario. One of the things he is very good at is staying out of the penalty box. He currently averages less than half a penalty minute per game, only heading to the sin bin for a total of 38 minutes in his 4 seasons in Ontario. The Reign sometimes have a habit of taking bad penalties late so having a player to deploy in those situations will be helpful as time marches on.
Not a November to Remember
The Ontario Reign have struggled this month and their place in the standings is suffering for it as well. After an opening month that saw them carry a singular loss to the Bakersfield Condors, the expectation would have been that the Reign were ready to take control of the division and stay atop the standings. Fast forward to November 26th, the Reign have just three wins in the month. The Reign went winless from November 5 to November 19, allowing 21 goals against in a five-game losing streak. What’s worse, the team scored a total of 3 goals in three games between November 12 and 19. One bad month isn’t going to make the team self-destruct, however. The Ontario Reign are just two points behind Calgary, with a game in hand, and can quickly leap over them with a win on Sunday. They stand 6 points back on the division-leading Colorado Eagles and will need to find their mettle if they want to knock off their playoff ousters from last year as the season progresses. Colorado currently holds a 9-0-1-0 record over their last 10 games and is getting the goaltending they need to keep winning. Ontario needs to batten down the hatches to catch up in the ever-widening gap between the top and the middle of the division.
Hitting the twine
The Ontario Reign are definitely scoring goals this season. They are currently averaging 3 goals per game and have a depth of scorers on the roster that can help as they continue to try and steal a few games. Currently, Aidan Dudas leads the team in goals with six on the season. Close behind him with just one less are four other players on the team. What this shows is that the Reign are a real threat, they can definitely score quite a bit. This is evident in just some of the great plays the Reign put together to score goals.
We love @jordanjs224's first of the year#ReignTrain pic.twitter.com/bRCvIgdebr
— Ontario Reign (@ontarioreign) November 24, 2022
This depth needs, however, to take the next step. The AHL is a very high-scoring league and 3 goals per game doesn’t necessarily get the job done. The Reign may need to shuffle lines to try and produce more scoring. Currently, three players on the team have more than 10 assists. Jordan Spence is a defenseman with much more ice time to work with. TJ Tynan and his 15 assists – the same as Spence, by the way – are anchoring the second line with Alan Quine pushing the third line with 11 assists. Once Quentin Byfield’s conditioning stint ends, Tynan will move back up to the top line with Turcotte and Madden, begging the question of what will happen to the second line and how the production can continue. Lias Andersson and Samuel Fagemo have 16 points between them in 26-man games. This isn’t terrible but the two of them need to come up with some chemistry to start scoring more often as their centerman changes.
The Reign are back at it on Sunday taking on the Roadrunners on the second of a back-to-back set. Look for Matt Villalta to get the start. Puck drop is at 3:00 pm PST. See you there Reign fans!
Featured image credit: Mike Zitek/Ontario Reign