The Ontario Reign get revenge in the second game of a back-to-back against the Abbotsford Canucks with a 2-1 win.
ABB: Danila Klimovich (14) ASST: Zach Giuttari (9)
Here are the three takeaways from Saturday’s 2-1 win:
Goaltending returns to form
The Ontario Reign may be getting what they need in the crease at the right time of the season. Cal Petersen’s last two starts have yielded good results for Ontario as he has posted a 1-1-0-0 record with a .920 and a .964 save percentage in the last two starts. Petersen looked calm and collected throughout the whole game, locked in quite a bit more than he has been in the last couple of months. Petersen’s play has been, at best, streaky over the last little while, posting some good numbers for a couple of games and then falling apart for a couple more.
He is the owner of a very similar statistical season with Ontario that landed him the job with the LA Kings organization this year. In his last year with Ontario (2019-20), he put up a 17-5-4-3 record with a .906 save percentage and a 3.43 GAA for the year. Those are not, in any way, bad numbers on the surface for a young goaltender to put up in the AHL. The real problem is that the NHL has gotten that much better in the time since that season. This year, Petersen has put up a 16-18-4-2 record with the same save percentage and an even lower GAA. What we are not seeing out of Cal is the ability to take a win from what should be a loss; that game-changing skill level that a starting goaltender in the NHL has for his team.
During Jonathan Quick’s tenure in the crease in Los Angeles, it was clear that he could win the team a game if necessary. Cal Petersen needs to do that for the Ontario Reign as the playoffs ramp up to give the team a chance to win and go on a deep run toward a Calder Cup.
Special Teams could be a game breaker
Tyler Madden’s power play marker was Ontario’s 59th powerplay goal of the season. Their 21.3% on the power play ranks 8th in the league as far as percentage. If Ontario can continue to strike on the man advantage and draw penalties, they can be at a serious advantage during the playoffs as time wears on. A series is a time when tensions get high and tempers flare in some of the worst times. If Ontario can continue to draw penalties, then they may be able to keep themselves ahead in the Goals For department as a series wears on. Interestingly, none of the 7 teams who have a better powerplay percentage than Ontario are in their division; A possible good omen for the playoffs.
Moverare ➡️ Tynan ➡️ Madden 🚨 pic.twitter.com/HV5ZO3BIR5
— X – Ontario Reign (@ontarioreign) April 9, 2023
The Ontario Reign also hold an 85.1% record on the penalty kill. The most important thing about that is that it is an almost 10 percentage point increase from last year. The Reign making that much of a leap turns them into a real threat because you don’t get much of an advantage from drawing a penalty against them and the numbers themselves actually sound better than even the percentage: The Ontario Reign are 199/236 on the Penalty Kill this year. If that doesn’t sound like a winning number, I don’t know what does. If they can sustain this kind of special teams during their playoff series, they have a really good shot at winning some key games.
Oh Captain, my Captain
Leadership cannot be measured in numbers or statistics all the time. It sometimes comes down to just being him when you’re on the ice and showing what you can do when necessary and T.J. Tynan may have erupted into the model of a leader since joining the Ontario Reign. Tynan is now a back-to-back MVP of the AHL and could feasibly win it again. Tynan is currently third in league scoring with 77 points (8-69) and hasn’t slowed down much as the season has worn on. Since joining the team, he has 165 points in 131 games, plays on the power play, and generally can be found talking to anyone and everyone on the ice during play.
What’s more, Tynan has only 60 penalty minutes since joining the Reign, with only 18 last season, which when put against skaters who played 40+ games, put him at fourth fewest. For reference on that stat, one of those three players above him was Matt Villalta. Tynan’s stat line gets even more interesting when you dig into it. He is the only player on the active roster – Rasmus Kupari is the other – to have two unassisted goals this season. He has the most power-play assists by 12 total, and he’s one of only nine players on the team to have an empty net goal. Overall, Tynan is a lead-by-example kind of player for Ontario and he has truly set the example as needed.
UP NEXT: The Ontario Reign will return to action on April 12th as they take on the Coachella Valley Firebirds for the final time this regular season. The game starts at 7 pm PT and can be seen on AHLTV.
Featured image credit: Abbotsford Canucks