Postseason hockey is coming to Southern California in two weeks and the Ontario Reign want to make sure they’re ready.
Over the weekend, coach John Wroblewski and his band of LA Kings prospects were able to exorcise some demons in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. They swept the Eagles in a three-game set, but more importantly, seemed to break the opposition’s will in the first game – setting the tone for that series. And certainly, planting a seed for their probable opponent when the AHL’s Pacific Division Tournament begins on May 18.
Bringing things to the present, perhaps Wroblewski will be able to channel some of that same energy and similar messaging to rally the Reign past their longtime division rivals from San Diego on Wednesday. Beginning what will be the final two games of the regular season between Reign and Gulls — long mentioned as the best rivalry in the AHL – it will be one of their usual home-and-home affairs, with Game 1 coming on Ontario’s turf.
In eight previous matchups this season, Ontario has skated away with a victory just once. However, three of them have been decided by one goal and the current Ontario team is quite a handful compared to the group San Diego faced earlier in the season.
The goaltending has improved of late. The defense has absolutely looked much better. And, up front, even without Quinton Byfield, LA prospects like Arthur Kaliyev, Alex Turcotte, Akil Thomas, and Rasmus Kupari are helping to drive the offense.
Veteran JF Berube will get the start in net tonight, with the returning Jacob Ingham suiting up as his backup.
Sounds like goalie Jacob Ingham will rejoin AHL Ontario from ECHL Greenville.
You really should listen to this https://t.co/nNIAGirRV1 — when Ingham & Dudas joined us on KOTP from Berlin, they were AWESOME!
Ingham has 1GP w/ the Reign this season, a W vs TUC. https://t.co/Rm1ZeRYMHh
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) May 5, 2021
Ontario Reign Projected Lineup vs. San Diego Gulls
Kaliyev – Kupari – Fagemo
Johnson – Turcotte – Frk
Eyssimont – Thomas – Halloran
Imama – Sutter – Dudas
Moverare – Durzi
Phillips – Alt
Gaunce – Clague
Other Roster Notes:
— Kings prospect Martin Chromiak (2020 NHL Draft pick), who recently signed an AHL contract, has been practicing with the team and should be joining the lineup very soon.
— Austin Strand, Daniel Brickley, Devante Smith-Pelly, and Jacob Doty will be healthy scratches; while Blaine Byron is sidelined with an injury. The latter three players are on AHL-only contracts.
— Highly regarded LA prospect Tyler Madden remains out indefinitely due to this hit. After spending a significant amount of time on the sidelines, Madden is doing much better now. As we reported last week, there is even an optimistic belief that the 21-year-old rookie forward could get back into a game before the end of the regular season.
— Defenseman Cole Hults is on the NHL taxi squad.
After tonight, the Reign and Gulls will rematch this Friday in Irvine (San Diego’s temporary home this season).
Tonight’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