Life can come at you pretty fast in 2021. Arguably the AHL’s best rivalry resumes tonight when the San Diego Gulls visit El Segundo to take on the Ontario Reign. To date, they’ve only met twice this season and things sure have changed since those games.
Sure, both events were decided by just one goal – nothing new there.
However, the tide has turned on all other major storylines. For starters, San Diego had been one of the hottest teams in the AHL over the first month or so of this season. Yet, prior to their win on Sunday, the Gulls had lost five straight. They also have lost prized Ducks prospects Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale to Anaheim’s NHL roster.
Meanwhile, the Reign have gone from piling up losses over the first month of the season to being on quite a roll of late. Including a 5-4 shootout win at Bakersfield on Sunday, Ontario has now been victorious in five of their last six games played. Equally impressive, they’ve scored at least five goals in all but one of those games over that stretch, with the lone exception being a 4-2 win over the league-leading Henderson Silver Knights.
Injuries will force several lineup changes for coach John Wroblewski tonight. Most notably, we’ve learned forward Sammy Fagemo is expected to be sidelined for a few weeks. He came out of last Sunday’s game with a lower body injury and appears to be something that will linger for a bit. Boko Imama and Blaine Byron were also injured in that game and are not expected to play vs. San Diego on Wednesday.
The Reign put up 41 shots in both of their previous games with the Gulls, yet came away on the wrong side of a 2-1 game in February and falling 5-4 in OT on March 3. Will a third game be the charm?
Ontario Reign Projected Lineup for Wed. 3/24 vs. San Diego
Alex Turcotte – Rasmus Kupari – Arthur Kaliyev
Devante Smith-Pelly – Quinton Byfield – Akil Thomas
Mikey Eyssimont – Lias Andersson – Aidan Dudas
Nick Halloran – Brett Sutter – Jacob Doty
Jacob Moverare – Sean Durzi
Cole Hults – Mark Alt
Kale Clague – Markus Phillips
Matt Villalta (starter)
Wednesday’s puck drop is scheduled for 6pm PST and can be streamed through AHL TV.
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Lead photo via San Diego Gulls