With each of the previous Reign games in Colorado this week featuring a theme, it’s time to close out the three-game set with another rallying cry.
Game 1 on Wednesday brought the ‘onward and upward’ mantra, as the team looked to be playing their first game without Quinton Byfield following his recall to the NHL. Arthur Kaliyev scored, Matt Villalta made 29 saves and the Reign skated off with a victory.
Game 2 on Friday night came with a déjà vu vibe as coach John Wroblewski wasn’t looking to mess with a winning formula. He rolled out the same lineup. So, what happened? Kaliyev scored again, Villalta only allowed a single goal, and the Reign rolled to a 4-1 victory.
Villalta has now made three starts vs. the Eagles this season. Kaliyev has scored a goal in all three contests. And the Reign have come out on top, giving them a 3-1 record against Colorado this season.
Tonight, Ontario will look for a Mile-High Hat Trick to sweep their week-long roadie in the Rocky Mountains.
With Austin Strand a little dinged up in last night’s game, Daniel Brickley will draw back in on the blueline. Up front, Nick Halloran will see his first action since the end of March, as he’ll replace Devante Smith-Pelly at wing.
Ontario Reign Projected Lineup vs. Colorado Eagles
Kaliyev – Kupari – Fagemo
Johnson – Turcotte – Frk
Eyssimont – Thomas – Halloran
Imama – Sutter – Dudas
Moverare – Durzi
Phillips – Alt
Gaunce – Brickley
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, yet he will need to wait a little longer before sliding into the lineup.
— Smith-Pelly 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 Reign and Eagles will only meet up once more, on May 9 in El Segundo, before possibly meeting up again in the just announced AHL Postseason tournament.
One other story line to keep tabs on is the race for the final call-up with the Kings. We chronicled the six leading candidates in an article here earlier this week, then added a few related follow-up notes in a Byfield article here this morning.
Saturday’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