For their final game of 2021, the Ontario Reign will faceoff with Henderson — a team they have quickly built a rivalry with over the past 12 months. Back in February, the Silver Knights made their AHL debut with a pair of victories over the Reign in Sin City. They went on to beat them again later that month in Ontario. Eventually, the Reign finally came out on top in their final matchup of the 2021 shortened season, grabbing a 4-2 win in March.
This season, the Pacific Division adversaries have only met once thus far, playing in Henderson back on November 3. Martin Frk notched a pair of goals that night, helping power Ontario to a 5-2 victory.
For their sixth and final game together of the calendar year, forward Quinton Byfield and defenseman Helge Grans will return to action. Byfield, who only returned a few weeks ago after missing the past few months with a leg injury, has been sidelined of late in COVID protocol. Grans is back with the team after spending a few weeks with Sweden at the World Junior Championships, where he notched three assists in two games played.
We had passed on a few tidbits about Grans to Stephen Nelson of NHL Network in advance of the big Sweden vs. USA that was scheduled for Wednesday. With the entire event cancelled earlier that day, let’s not allow the info to go to waste.
Quick Scouting Notes on Grans — His vision and offensive playmaking ability have always been his strong suit, in part because he played forward until he was 15 yrs old… Grans then moved to defense and was later selected by Los Angeles a few years later (35th overall!) at the age of 18. Kings Development Coaches Matt Greene and Sean O’Donnell have done a very good job with his defensive game since he came over to North America about six months ago. Grans’ improved his defensive play includes closing better, better gap control, playing less flat-footed, and with less hesitancy. The small rink also fits his defensive game better because he has good reach. In 16 AHL games with Ontario this season, he has eight points (3G, 5A). In a fun tidbit, his assistant coach with Malmo back in Sweden was former LA Kings defenseman Andreas Lilja.
ONTARIO REIGN PROJECTED LINEUP vs. HENDERSON SILVER KNIGHTS on 12/31
Tkachev – Tynan – Frk
Fagemo – Byfield – Vilardi
Johnson – JAD – Dudas
Pavlychev – Sutter – Doty
Other options include: Burke, Madden, Sodergran, and Wagner
Additional Info: Akil Thomas is sidelined for a few weeks
Moverare – Spence
Phillips – Strand
Gaunce – Grans
Other options include: Kasastul, Prapavessis, and Siebenaler
Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm tonight in Ontario and the game can be viewed on AHL TV.
Lead photo of Byfield via Daniel Stopani
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