Calder Cup Playoff hockey is upon us, and the Ontario Reign are keenly focused on the number three heading into Game 1.
For starters, they’ll begin postseason play with a best-of-3 ‘all on the road’ series against Colorado. It’s also an opportunity to avoid a three-peat, given that the Eagles knocked them out of the playoffs each of the last two years. Despite splitting the season series — with each team winning four of the eight games played — this situation will bring a new challenge, as the intensity will be revived up several notches.
Fortunately, the Reign were able to have a team skate in Colorado yesterday to help players and staff adjust to the elements in advance of things officially getting underway tonight. Further, coach Marco Sturm appears to have a fairly healthy squad at the moment. Kings prospect Samuel Helenius remains the last major hold out, and even he has been back skating of late. Inserting his size and physicality back into the lineup would be another huge contribution, should he be available soon.
The blueline is also in full health at the perfect time, as well, Ontario should benefit from having the top pairing of Toby Bjornfot and Jordan Spence throughout the series. These two individuals are essential for special teams play; both the power-play and penalty kill are top-10 in the AHL, in large part due to these defensemen.
Between the pipes for the Reign will be Cal Petersen, who will play in his first playoff series since the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs where he put up some really impressive numbers. It’s a big opportunity for Petersen, especially given the fact that the Kings only have one other goalie signed next year at the NHL level (Pheonix Copley). If he is able to be on top of his game and lead the Reign on a deep playoff run, that would surely do a lot for his confidence, as well as the franchise’s confidence in him.
ONTARIO REIGN PROJECTED LINEUP vs. COLORADO EAGLES
Andersson – Tynan – Madden
Quine – Turcotte – Fagemo
Dudas – Goulbourne – Chromiak
Lee – Schnarr – Ward
Bisson – Spence
Moverare – Bjornfot
Krygier – Gaunce
Likely game scratches: Grans, Helenius, Inamoto, Linden, Nousiainen, Portillo, Thompson
Out long-term, injured: Thomas, Doty
Puck drop is scheduled for 6:00pm PST tonight and the game can be viewed on AHL TV.
Lineup graphic via ALo Images
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