This weekend marks the second time in less than a month the Ontario Reign are visiting the Abbotsford Canucks. They’ve become well-adjusted to playing each other too, as the back-to-back games in British Columbia are simply the punctuation to an odd stretch of scheduling. Friday and Saturday will be their fifth and sixth matchups over the past 11 games. Ontario took the last pair of games played in SoCal, after dropping the prior pair of games north of the border.
Entering play on Friday, coach Marco Sturm and squad are looking for two big points because their next win guarantees them a spot in the playoffs.
Making matters a little more complicated is how to put the defense together. The Reign were already a tad shorthanded, as Toby Bjornfot has been up with the Kings on an emergency recall of late. Then, just before leaving for Canada, Jordan Spence was also recalled under similar conditions. Obviously, this leaves Sturm and assistant coach Chris Hajt in a rather precarious position.
Defenseman Tyler Inamoto has been recalled from ECHL Greenville. Yet, we aren’t expecting him to play tonight. Ditto for recently signed forward Ture Linden. The 25-year-old center just finished his fifth year of college hockey, recording 29 points in 39 games for Penn State. Give him a few more practices with the team, and he’s likely to be available later next week.
Alex Turcotte also remains out of the lineup, he’s listed as day-to-day.
In goal, we’re expecting — although not confirmed — Sturm to start out the weekend set of games with Matt Villalta between the pipes.
Meanwhile, Alex Laferriere will be playing his final two games with the Reign. More on that here:
ONTARIO REIGN PROJECTED LINEUP vs. ABBOTSFORD CANUCKS
Andersson – Tynan – Laferriere
Madden – Dudas – Fagemo
Ward – Quine – Chromiak
Lee – Schnarr – Goulbourne
Krygier – Gaunce
Moverare – Grans
Nousiainen – Bisson
Likely game scratches: Helenius, Inamoto, Linden, Thompson, Turcotte
Recalled to NHL: Bjornfot, Kupari, Spence
Out long-term, injured: Thomas, Doty
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm PST tonight and the game can be viewed on AHL TV.
Lineup graphic via ALo Images
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