Following a pair of season-opening losses to San Diego last weekend, Ontario will see them again for Game 3 of the young campaign on Friday night. It will also be the first of back-to-back contests, as the Reign will then travel to Bakersfield on Saturday night to close out this set of games.
First things first, though. Coach Marco Sturm will be looking for his club to snag a victory for the first time in 2023-24. Perhaps his AHL club can follow the pattern of their NHL parent, as the Kings found their initial victory of the year in Game 3 — a night that included a strong goaltending performance (and nearly a shutout). Sturm would happily take something similar from his group, after giving up 10 goals against the Gulls last weekend.
Offensively speaking, Ontario showed better in their second start, including power play goals from LA prospects Alex Turcotte and Brandt Clarke. Meanwhile, Tyler Madden — a 20-goal scorer last season — is still looking for his first marker of the year, as is rookie Frankie Pinelli. Alternate captain Akil Thomas potted five goals in just 13 games played last season; so he’s eager to get things going too.
Defensively, the Reign will need to tighten things up from a week ago, where they allowed the Gulls to convert on three of five power plays.
After tonight, the Gulls and Reign won’t see each other again until Dec. 28; that’s quite a break for the two SoCal clubs who it sometimes feels like are playing each other about every other week.
ONTARIO REIGN PROJECTED LINEUP vs. SAN DIEGO GULLS
Maltsev – Tynan – Madden
Hudon – Turcotte – Chromiak
Pinelli – Thomas – Hodgson
Ward – Helenius – Doty
Other options include: Francis, Johnson, Pavlychev
Moverare – Clarke
Krygier – Santini
Nousiainen – Hicketts
Other options include: Connauton, Wylie
Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm Pacific Time and the game can be viewed on AHL TV.
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