Ontario Reign: Three takeaways from the season finale loss
The Ontario Reign dropped their season finale in a 4-1 road loss to the Henderson Silver Knights on Saturday night.
see ya in Colorado pic.twitter.com/GzvEDk60kT
— X – Ontario Reign (@ontarioreign) April 16, 2023
HSK: Sakari Manninen (14), ASST: Sheldon Rempal (37), Dysin Mayo (8)
ONT: PP Lias Andersson (31), ASST: Jordan Spence (41), TJ Tynan (73)
HSK: Connor Corcoran (2), ASST: Gage Quinney (39), Sheldon Rempal (38)
HSK: Ivan Morozov (7), ASST: Brendan Brisson (20), Connor Corcoran (4)
HSK: Brendan Brisson (17), ASST: Ivan Morozov (11), Jonas Rondbjerg (16)
Here are the three takeaways from Saturday’s defeat:
A crazy season is in the books
It’s been a wild season for the Ontario Reign this year. When the season started, there were some expectations this team could compete for the Calder Cup. From the 8-2 home opener win against the Abbotsford Canucks on October 14th to the season finale loss on April 15th, we saw a lot of inconsistency with the Reign. Injuries, call-ups, and losing streaks, you name it because the Reign saw them all.
There are always roster changes throughout the AHL every year because of injuries to the parent club or the AHL affiliate itself, or players playing great and earning a well-deserved call-up. Last night’s 4-1 loss, even the performances this weekend, summed up the Reign’s season. A lot of inconsistency in their season has the Reign finishing 6th in their division.
Villalta’s last game?
It was Matthew Villalta’s last game of the season, but was it his last game as a member of the Ontario Reign? If the Reign don’t advance in the playoffs, it may have been because he is a restricted free agent after this season (I anticipate Cal Petersen to be the starter in the Reign’s first-round series).
The Reign all come off the bench to give Matthew Villalta a hug. It's been a tough year for Villalta, who started the year as a 1A/1B tandem with Pheonix Copley to backup to Cal Petersen after being the starter last year.
He is an RFA this offseason. #ReignTrain
— x – Kyle Garcia (@Kopitar4HOF) April 16, 2023
It’s been a hard year for Villalta as he has taken the backup role and seen limited playing time as the Kings placed Cal Petersen on waiver and assigned him to the Reign once he cleared to get his game back on track. After being a 1A/1B tandem with Pheonix Copley to start the season, Villalta played in only 15 of the 55 games once Cal Petersen joined the team. Being the starter for the 2021-2022 season, it was a tough year to assume the backup role. He improved this season, but at times had cold stretches. In 22 games, Villalta posted a record of 12-8-1, a 2.65 GAA, a .910 save percentage, and one shutout.
Rematch against Colorado
The Reign and Colorado Eagles will meet in the Calder Cup playoffs for the second straight year. Last year the Eagles made quick work of the Reign in the second round by sweeping the series 3-0 (best-of-five series). In 2021 the two teams squared off in the Pacific Division tournament and Colorado won that game in overtime. The teams split the eight games in the regular season with Colorado winning the last two games on the road. The series is expected to start Wednesday, April 19th, and we will have a preview and prediction of who will win the series. All three games will be played in Colorado.
UP NEXT: It’s playoff time! The Reign and Eagles will kick off their first-round series in Colorado on Wednesday, April 19th. The game starts at 6:05 pm PT and can be seen on AHLTV. With the LA Kings playing game two of their series against the Edmonton Oilers that same day, maybe you can watch both games at once if you can.
Featured image credit: Henderson Silver Knights