Looking to build on earning their first point of the season a few days ago, the Reign will host the Colorado Eagles on Wednesday night for the first of their six matchups this season.
Ontario will also be looking to write a new chapter in history, as over their first 15 meetings as Pacific Division rivals, Colorado holds an 11-4-0 record.
In seven matchups last season, Colorado took home wins five times. More recently, the last time these two teams met up was for the final pair of games Ontario played in the 2019-20 season, just before everything shutdown in March.
Back then, Reign defenseman Mark Alt served as the Eagles captain, before eventually signing with the Kings organization in the offseason. He now prepares to skate against his old club for the first time.
As we reported earlier today, Kings prospect Kale Clague has been returned to the Reign and is expected to play tonight. As the hockey Gods are known to do at times, they often giveth and taketh away simultaneously. In this case, center Alex Turcotte — injured in Monday’s game — will likely sit out. From what we’ve been able to gather, Turcotte tested things out this morning, but is unlikely to play tonight. In fact, the Reign are contemplating rolling with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen tonight.
On the other bench, at least one Eagles player has extensive experience in games featuring a handful of guys from the Reign lineup. Avalanche prospect Jean-Luc Foudy, a first-year pro, played two seasons for the Windsor Spitfires in the OHL – home to Quinton Byfield, Akil Thomas, Arthur Kaliyev, and a few others.
We’re waiting on the Eagles lineup and will update this article once it’s made available.
— Colorado Eagles (@ColoradoEagles) February 18, 2021
Ontario Reign Projected Lineup for Wednesday 2/17 vs. Colorado Eagles
Tyler Madden – Quinton Byfield – Arthur Kaliyev
Mikey Eyssimont – Rasmus Kupari – Sammy Fagemo
Blaine Byron – Akil Thomas – Nick Halloran
Brett Sutter – Aidan Dudas
Daniel Brickley – Kale Clague
Markus Phillips – Mark Alt
Cameron Gaunce – Sean Durzi
Matt Villalta (starter)
One quick roster note to pass along here – forward Boko Imama will not play tonight and is expected to travel with the Kings on their road trip.
Tonight’s game can be streamed through AHL TV. Puck drop is scheduled for 6pm PST.
The rematch of this game, scheduled for Friday, can be streamed for free as part of the AHL’s Facebook Game of the Week.
Below are some brief pregame comments from Aidan Dudas:
Dudas on adjusting to the move up from the OHL to a bigger and faster AHL
Speed-wise, I think I’m OK. For me, being the size I am, it’s more strength and being strong on the wall-type of play that I need to get a little bit better at. Speed has always been my strong suit, but the strength of some of these veterans out there is pretty good. That’s one thing that I can work on.
On if there has been anything unexpected he’s found from playing in the AHL
Honestly no. You hear it all the time that pro is a different league. It’s nothing like junior, it’s faster it’s stronger. The players are older, so they understand the game a little bit better. You hear that so much, you’re pretty much prepared for anything. Being a hockey player, that’s one of the biggest things you need to do is be prepared. I’ve taken everything in that I hear from other pros and I think I’ve been really well prepared.
On any positives the Reign can take away from their games in the early part of the season
I think for us, the biggest positive is our work ethic. Every game, we put it all out there on the line and we play our hearts out. There are a few things we need to clean up, a couple of mistakes here or there, but I think overall as a team, our work ethic has been outstanding.
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