The Hockey Gods giveth and taketh.
Just as the Reign lineup was starting to settle in at forward with recent additions of Quinton Byfield and Akil Thomas, Friday night saw the latter block a shot near the end of the game and he will now miss Saturday’s rematch in San Diego. This comes on the heels of Alex Turcotte being sidelined last week after a play in practice (caused more by one of his teammates, not really his fault — but still, he’ll miss his third consecutive game).
Tonight will also mark the final appearance for defenseman Helge Grans, as he’ll be leaving to join Team Sweden for the World Junior Championships in Edmonton. While the tournament doesn’t officially begin until December 26, they’ll have a pre-tourney camp and then kickoff a brief set of exhibition games, with the first one coming up vs. Canada on December 20. Sweden will also face Austria on December 23.
Once the tournament gets going, Sweden, USA, and Russia are all in the same group – so there will be plenty of Kings-on-Kings crime in the preliminary round games. Grans and Sweden will have a big showdown with Brock Faber and Team USA on Wednesday, December 29. This comes a few days after Sweden opens up the Tournament on Boxing Day with a game vs. Russia.
Now back to the Reign… they won again last night. It was their 13th victory in 18 games played this season and they remain one of the top teams in all of the AHL.
With Thomas sitting out, the Reign are opting to move Gabe Vilardi back to center tonight. This is interesting, as Dudas would have been one of several others options at 3C. And once Blake Lizotte clears protocol (expected in the next few days), Jaret Anderson-Dolan will most likely be returned to Ontario. Thus, this looks to be a short-term situation on multiple fronts.
Tune in to the Kings second intermission tonight on BSW and I’ll break the Vilardi situation down a little further, as well as talk about a handful of Kings prospects heading to World Junior camps this week.
ONTARIO REIGN PROJECTED LINEUP vs. SAN DIEGO on 12/11
Burke – Tynan – Frk
Johnson – Byfield – Madden
Tkachev – Vilardi – Fagemo
Wagner – Sutter – Dudas
Other options include: Doty, Sodergran, Thomas
Moverare – Spence
Wolanin – Grans
Phillips – Strand
Other options include: Gaunce and Kasastul
Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm tonight in San Diego and the game can be viewed on AHL TV.
Lead photo via Daniel Stopani
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