Boy, how things can change quickly in the world of hockey. Just a few weeks ago, the Ontario Reign were mired in an extended losing streak and thin on players. Now, they’ll be looking to win their fourth straight game on Wednesday when they host the visiting Colorado Eagles. Coach Marco Sturm and bunch are looking to shave a little off their magic number (5 points), inching closer to clinching a playoff position. They currently sit fifth in the AHL’s Pacific Division, while Colorado clinched their own postseason spot over this past weekend.
Much to the delight of Sturm, he’ll be getting some reinforcements to boost said playoff push. Defenseman Jordan Spence was loaned back to Ontario from LA a few days ago, so look for him to return to the Reign blueline and also help quarterback the top power-play unit. Shifting from defense to offense, Alex Turcotte has been a key difference-maker of late. He has at least one point in every game since his return from injury and continues to show development in multiple areas of his game. The key for him will be to, obviously, stay healthy down the stretch.
Special teams is always a key point of discussion at this time of the season and Ontario will want to build on their penalty kill success against the Eagles this season. It has been outstanding in 2022-23 and has them sitting third overall in the league PK rankings. To continue their success, whoever is between the pipes will need to make the saves they need to make. Both Matt Villalta and Cal Petersen have played well against the Eagles, with the latter carrying a 2-0-0 record and a .930 save percentage this season. He’s expected to get the nod in this one, after relinquishing the net to Villalta last time out.
More roster help is on the way later this week. Read more about it here:
Based upon configurations used at practice on Tuesday, below is how the Reign will most likely lineup tonight. Kim Nousiainen had been playing on a fairly regular basis, but gave way in the last game to newly signed Cole Krygier, who made his pro debut. Either are a realistic option on the third pair. Plus, Helge Grans could slide onto the right side of that pairing, as well. There was quite a bit of rotation on the blueline throughout practice.
Finally, to clarify something on Spence, he is eligible to be recalled by the Kings, if needed.
ONTARIO REIGN PROJECTED LINEUP vs. COLORADO EAGLES
Andersson – Tynan – Madden
Dudas – Turcotte – Fagemo
Ward – Quine – Chromiak
Lee – Schnarr – Goulbourne
Bjornfot – Spence
Moverare – Bisson
Krygier – Gaunce
Likely game scratches: Grans, Helenius, Inamoto, Nousiainen, Pavlychev, Thompson
Recalled to NHL: Kupari
Out long-term, injured: Thomas, Doty
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm PST tonight and the game can be viewed on AHL TV.
Lead photo by Daniel Stopani
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