Why mess with a good thing?
Over the course of their first 15 matchups as Pacific Division rivals, the Colorado Eagles earned an 11-4-0 record over the Ontario Reign, including five wins in seven games last season. Then, the Reign rolled out nearly an entirely new roster in 2021 and the results have flipped back into their favor.
Ontario took home a 2-1 victory during their first matchup this season, with Arthur Kaliyev potting the game-winning-goal that night and Matt Villalta claiming the win in net.
Fast forward to this past Wednesday, where the Reign and Eagles opened a three-game stretch against each other and it was as if a small piece of history repeated itself. Kaliyev had the first goal of the game and Villalta made 29 saves, leading Ontario to another victory.
Now holding a 2-1 record against the Eagles, coach John Wroblewski will now trot out the same Reign lineup Friday evening, looking for some more déjà vu.
Ontario Reign Projected Lineup vs. Colorado Eagles
Kaliyev – Kupari – Fagemo
Johnson – Turcotte – Frk
Eyssimont – Thomas – Smith-Pelly
Imama – Sutter – Dudas
Moverare – Durzi
Gaunce – Strand
Phillips – Alt
Other Roster Notes:
— Kings prospect Martin Chromiak (2020 NHL Draft pick), who recently signed an AHL contract, did clear quarantine and is with the Reign on this trip. From what we’re told, he showed up in phenomenal shape and looks ready to go. However, it remains to be seen if he will draw into a game on this trip.
— Nick Halloran and Jacob Doty will be healthy scratches, while Blaine Byron is sidelined with an injury. All three players are on AHL-only contracts.
— Highly regarded LA prospect Tyler Madden remains out indefinitely due to this hit, with no timetable available yet regarding when he’ll resume skating. However, in checking in with various sources, Madden is said to be doing much better of late. In fact, there is even some cautious optimism that he may even be ready to jump back in for a game or two next month. At the very least, there is now some encouraging news regarding the 21-year-old rookie forward.
— Defenseman Cole Hults is on the NHL taxi squad.
After tonight, the same two teams will rematch on Saturday. They’ll then have one more regular season game to play on May 9, before possibly meeting up again in the just announced AHL Postseason tournament.
Friday’s puck drop is scheduled for 6pm PST and can be streamed through AHL TV.
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Photo courtesy of AHL Colorado Eagles