Ontario Reign: Three takeaways from the 4-0 loss to Abbotsford
The Ontario Reign looked to end a seven-game skid with a win against the Abbotsford Canucks but were blanked by four unanswered goals for their 8th straight loss.
ABB: Danila Klimovich (13) ASST: Chase Wouters (16)
ABB: Marc Gatcomb (2) UNASSISTED
ABB: Vincent Arseneau (7) UNASSISTED
ABB: Nils Hoglander (14) ASST: Justin Dowling (31)
Here are the three takeaways from Sunday’s 4-3 loss:
Stick side sickness
This season’s move of sending Cal Petersen down to the AHL really seemed to take a toll on the Ontario netminder, as he has struggled of late to find the game that got him into the NHL in the first place. Petersen had lost six straight coming into the contest with Abbotsford, his last win coming on February 30th against Coachella Valley. Petersen was exposed quickly and precisely by the Canucks, showing his stick-side weakness often.
He can fight, he can score, he can do it all 🤩
Vinny Arseneau, take a bow pic.twitter.com/W8arU7rZnN
— Abbotsford Canucks (@abbycanucks) March 18, 2023
Petersen was exposed just a few minutes after the goal above on a break by Nils Hoglander, giving the Canucks their 4-0 lead. In fact, every goal in the first two periods was scored stick side, meaning that the fix is in when playing against Cal. For whatever reason, he is struggling this season to prove that he can remain someone that the LA Kings organization needs to keep around. He has started 11 more games than Matt Villalta, yet has only amassed two more wins. If Ontario is going to try and climb back into playoff position in the next 13 games, Petersen is going to need to light his fire and get going.
Some things are not always what they seem to be on the surface. Though the Reign did not have a very good game, there was one good line that really broke through, and that was the second line of Aidan Dudas, Alan Quine, and Tyler Madden. This line was a driver of play in a game where the Reign really didn’t have much going for them. Dudas and Madden regularly charged through the blue line, pushing toward the Abbotsford net and making goaltender Spencer Martin work for his shutout. They only combined for three shots, but they made the best of their time in the zone.
Again, without hitting the score sheet, it seems like players aren’t doing so well if you aren’t watching the game closely. This group for the Reign (dubbed The Quine Line during the broadcast) stopped Abbotsford from going forward regularly and forced them into resetting their attack. A great example was around the 16:40 mark of the third, where they stymied a good bit of passing in the defensive zone to clear the puck down the ice without icing it. Eventually, they got the puck down the ice for a faceoff in the Abbotsford zone. Not a game of production for the line, but their advanced metrics would show that they were one of the most effective lines for the Ontario Reign in the game.
Fight Against Might
There’s no question that the Canucks are a great team. They sit in 3rd place in the Pacific Division, have an acceptable power play, and have nine players who have double-digit goals this season. While these are probably not championship numbers, they are good numbers and outdo the Reign in many categories. What they did against the Reign was show that their depth was going to carry them forward.
The Reign’s very effective Power Play (22.4% on the year) was absolutely crushed by Abbotsford in the first two periods, limiting the Reign to basically one dangerous chance. The Reign should be competitive in games like this, where they are the only team actually to get a power play. However, Ontario has been shaken by recent bad play, and the cracks are beginning to show as the playoffs (and the possibility of missing them) begin to loom over the team. Here’s hoping that the weekend can end 1-1-0-0.
UP NEXT: The Ontario Reign return to action Saturday for another game against the Abbotsford Canucks. The game starts at 7 pm PT and can be seen on AHLTV.
(Main Photo Credit: Abbotsford Canucks)