When the Western Conference leading Calgary Wranglers arrived in town on Friday, coach Marco Sturm and the Reign were ready for a shootout in Ontario — both figuratively, and eventually literally.
Riding a mild two-game win streak at the time, Sturm brought some additional artillery to the battle, namely in the form of defenseman Toby Bjornfot and forward Andre Lee. Each had been away from the club for various reasons, yet both were positioned to play a part in the showdown with Calgary.
In addition to Lee finding the back of the net twice in his season debut, it was another pair of on-ice gunslingers who helped lead the way for Ontario. Akil Thomas opened the scoring midway through the first period, followed by fellow Kings prospect Alex Turcotte tying the game 4-4 with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.
— Ontario Reign (@ontarioreign) November 18, 2023
Eventually, Calgary skated off with a 5-4 shootout victory, yet not all was lost on the evening, as Ontario still banked a vaulable point in the standings.
Now, for Sunday’s matinee rematch, it appears Sturm will have all the same horses available. Bjornfot remains with the Reign on his conditioning assignment, and Jacob Moverare (who assisted on Lee’s second goal) has been reassigned to the AHL after serving as an extra defenseman during last night’s Kings victory in Downtown LA. One interesting note about that latter point is that the big club will depart for Phoenix this afternoon, in advance of their matchup with the Coyotes on Monday night. We’ll assume Moverare will fly separately, rejoining the Kings in Arizona and still serving as coach Todd McLellan’s extra skater tomorrow.
Meanwhile, goaltender David Rittich got the start in Ontario on Friday, which should lead to Erik Portillo manning the Reign crease in today’s rematch.
After sitting that game out, it wouldn’t be surprising to also see defenseman Cole Krygier slide in at LD3, replacing Kim Nousiainen.
ONTARIO REIGN PROJECTED LINEUP vs. CALGARY WRANGLERS
Madden – Tynan – Fagemo
Pinelli – Maltsev – Chromiak
Ward – Turcotte – Thomas
Lee – Helenius – Doty
Other options include: Francis, Hodgson, Hudon, Ward
Bjornfot – Santini
Nousiainen – Connauton
Other options include: Hicketts, Krygier
Puck drop is scheduled for 3pm Pacific Time and the game can be viewed on AHL TV.
Game day graphic via ALo Images
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