The Ontario and Bakersfield rivalry is one great playoff series away from reaching a fever pitch. There have been plenty of storylines between the two clubs over the past few seasons, and it even extended into the Kings-Oilers post-season run last year.
In three previous games this season, Bakersfield has taken two of the three victories. Sammy Fagemo had a two-goal performance in the first game, he’s unavailable tonight. Akil Thomas had a two-goal outing in the second matchup, he’s out for this one, as well. In the most recent tilt between the Southern California clubs, Kings prospect Quinton Byfield recorded his first AHL goal of the season. With each passing game, the 6-foot-4 center has continued to look more and more comfortable during his unofficial conditioning assignment.
For Sunday’s match-up in Ontario, the biggest question mark is Alex Turcotte. He was a late scratch from Friday’s contest, as he fell ill the day prior. Yesterday, the 21-year-old forward did skate in practice, so that’s a good sign. From what we’re hearing, team officials will monitor his energy levels to determine if he’s good to go vs. the Condors.
As of now, we’re expecting coach Marco Sturm to roll with the same lineup used last time out, which resulted in a 3-1 victory over Colorado. Goaltender Cal Petersen was the highlight from that one and he’s penciled in for the start once again.
Forward Aidan Dudas received his first NHL call-up on Saturday, where he served as an extra skater for the Kings. As expected, he was returned to the AHL earlier today and should be in the lineup tonight.
Like Turcotte, the status of Jacob Moverare hasn’t been resolved just yet. He missed practice on Saturday — which is common at this time of the year, as illness is everywhere, both at and away from the rink.
Fagemo and fellow Reign regular Toby Bjornfot are expected to remain up with the Kings for their six-game road trip. With Dudas being returned to Ontario, that means LA has an extra roster spot available to call up another body for the trip. However, Alex Iafallo is getting very close to a return. If that’s happening as soon as Tuesday, they’ll need that spot to activate him off injured reserve.
ONTARIO REIGN PROJECTED LINEUP vs. BAKERSFIELD CONDORS
Andersson / Turcotte – Byfield – Madden
Quine – Tynan – Ward
Dudas – Kupari – Chromiak
Lee – Helenius – Thompson
Moverare – Spence
Gaunce – Grans
Bisson – Allard
Game scratches: Nachbaur, Nousiainen, Wagner
Recalled to NHL: Bjornfot, Fagemo
Out injured: Thomas, Doty
Puck drop is scheduled for 5pm PST tonight and the game can be viewed on AHL TV.
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