For the fourth straight week, the Ontario Reign and San Diego gulls will meet up in a mid-week matchup. Fear not, though, the intensity aspect will still exist even with the game being played 24 hours prior to a usual Wednesday Night Rivalry game.
For the Reign, this will kick off a three-in-four-nights stretch, with the initial two games being a home-and-home series with the Gulls. Prior to Sunday’s loss at home, the Reign had gone 8-4-1 over their previous 13 games, with three of the four losses coming to San Diego. Although the Gulls have had their number this season, Ontario picked up a 4-2 victory when the teams played last Wednesday.
Also of note, Quinton Byfield and Cole Hults were injured in that game and haven’t played since. From what we’ve gathered, Hults will like miss at least a week, while Byfield skated with the team in practice yesterday and is ready to return. Prior to then, Byfield had recorded 11 points in his previous 10 games. Overall, he’s tied for the team lead in points (18) with Arthur Kaliyev and Rasmus Kupari. He’s also tied for fourth in points among all AHL rookies.
Byfield won’t be the only one returning tonight either. Sammy Fagemo and Devante Smith-Pelly are both expected back into the lineup after also missing some games recently. Despite playing eight games fewer than most of his teammates, Fagemo is still tied for the team lead in goals (7). He’s also tied for third among AHL rookies with three power play goals — an area the Reign have struggled with this season, so he’ll be a welcomed addition on the PP tonight.
Kaliyev is second among AHL rookies with 69 shots on goal, Akil Thomas is third (60).
And one more interesting stat to pass along – Kaliyev is also tied for second among AHL rookies for first goals scored in a game (3). Should he score the first goal of the game vs. San Diego, Kaliyev will tie Pavel Dorofeyev of Henderson for the league lead.
Ontario Reign Projected Lineup vs. San Diego Gulls
Kaliyev – Byfield – Frk
Eyssimont – Turcotte – Thomas
Andersson – Kupari – Fagemo
Imama – Sutter – Smith-Pelly
Moverare – Durzi
Brickley – Alt
Phillips – Strand
One other fun pregame note:
When the Reign were short on D in a recent game, Akil Thomas skated one shift there… and nearly scored!
Then, I heard he practiced as a D yesterday also.
Strand is back tonight, so doubt 14 sees time on the blueline. But it's coming some day.
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) April 14, 2021
Other Roster Notes:
— Aidan Dudas is up on the Kings taxi squad at the moment.
— Nick Halloran and Jacob Doty will be healthy scratches, while Blaine Byron is sidelined with an injury. All three players on AHL-only contracts.
— Tyler Madden remains out indefinitely due to this hit, with no timetable available yet regarding when he’ll resume skating.
Tuesday’s puck drop is scheduled for 7pm PST and can be streamed through AHL TV.
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Photo courtesy of AHL San Diego Gulls