Coach Marco Sturm has been around the game of hockey far too long to panic. Yet, he is likely concerned that his team is now 0-4 against the Calgary Wranglers this season. With Tuesday’s loss, that’s three straight defeats in Alberta, and Wednesday’s rematch will be Ontario’s final opportunity to earn a victory in that part of Canada this season.
Unfortunately, Sturm has few levers to pull at this time. Several of his more skilled players have been recalled to the NHL and a few others are banged up or injured. In last night’s opener of this week’s back-to-back series, Sturm went with Alex Ierullo on his fourth line, after at least toying with the idea of using recently signed forward Tyrell Goulbourne in practice earlier this week.
Where things get even more complicated is what to do now. Center Nikita Pavlychev didn’t play in the third period last night, so if he’s out tonight, Sturm may need to get out some tape and chewing gum to make it all work. We’re expecting Goulbourne to draw back in — either in place of Ierullo (if Pavlychev can go) or more likely in place of Pavlychev.
Additionally, Nate Thompson has been skating lately, although he isn’t believed to be ready for a return just quite yet. Defenseman Helge Grans was getting closer to a return when the team headed out of town earlier this week. If he can slide back into the Reign lineup tonight, that would certainly strengthen Sturm’s blueline offering.
In net, we’re expecting the usual rotation, meaning Matt Villalta will take over for Cal Petersen to close out the road trip.
ONTARIO REIGN PROJECTED LINEUP vs. CALGARY WRANGLERS
Andersson – Tynan – Wagner
Madden – Quine – Chromiak
Goulbourne – Dudas – Ward
Lee – Helenius – Ierullo
Bisson – Spence
Moverare – Gaunce
Nousiainen – Allard / Grans
Game scratches: Pavlychev, Thompson
Recalled to NHL: Björnfot, Fagemo, Kupari, Turcotte
Out injured: Thomas, Doty
Puck drop is scheduled for 6pm PST tonight and the game can be viewed on AHL TV.
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