From every possible angle, last weekend was a success for the Ontario Reign. Not only did they pick up back-to-back wins for the first time this season, the lineup fluctuation started to subside, giving the games a sense of stability. Additionally, rookie Alex Turcotte recorded his first AHL goal and second-year defenseman Sean Durzi picked up his first goal of 2021.
Prior to Saturday’s domination of the league’s best team, a 4-2 win over the Henderson Silver Knights, Ontario kicked things off with a home victory over the Tucson Roadrunners.
Now in Arizona, the Reign will look to build on their recent positivity with a pair of games vs. the Roadrunners. In three previous matchups, the Roadrunners claimed two one-goal wins (5-4 and 4-3, last month in Ontario), while the 5-3 Reign win last weekend was really another one-goal game, capped with a late empty net goal by Aidan Dudas to seal the victory.
Heading into the series, we have a few roster notes to pass along:
— Alex Turcotte will remain at left wing. He scored his first to goal there over the weekend.
— With recently signed Devante Smith-Pelly making his Reign debut on the second line, Sammy Fagemo will be dropping down to the third line. We’re expecting DSP to wear No. 25.
— As Fagemo is a right wing, the versatile Aidan Dudas will swap over to left side after playing on Akil Thomas’ right side of late.
— Forward Blaine Byron will sit tonight. He has a lower body injury, but we’re told he’s likely to draw back in for a rematch with the Roadrunners on Wednesday. Playing on AHL only contract, the 26-year-old forward has quietly been one of the more productive Reign players. He’s second on the team in goals (5) and third in points (9) thus far this season. He basically has picked up where he left off since the end of last year’s truncated season. From the time he was acquired in a midseason trade last year until the abrupt shutdown of the AHL, Byron led the Reign in both assists and points.
— All defensemen remain in the same pairings.
— Kings prospect Jacob Moverare, sidelined since opening weekend of the season, is on the trip and scheduled to return to the lineup tomorrow.
— Goaltender JF Berube will make his fourth straight start in net.
— Rasmus Kupari continues to lead the team in both points (11) and assists (9).
Ontario Reign Projected Lineup for Tue. 3/16 at Tucson
Alex Turcotte – Rasmus Kupari – Arthur Kaliyev
Mikey Eyssimont – Quinton Byfield – Devante Smith-Pelly
Aidan Dudas – Akil Thomas – Sammy Fagemo
Boko Imama – Brett Sutter – Nick Halloran
Cole Hults – Austin Strand
Kale Clague – Mark Alt
Cameron Gaunce – Sean Durzi
Tuesday’s puck drop is scheduled for 6:30pm PST and can be streamed through AHL TV.
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