PREVIEW - Ontario @ Tucson, 12/8 - LA Kings Insider

WHO: Ontario Reign (9-8-2-2) vs. Tucson Roadrunners (13-5-2-1)
WHEN: Saturday, December 8, @ 6:05 PM
WHERE: Tucson Convention Center – Tucson, AZ
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: AHLTV – AUDIO – Fox Sports Radio (Away Feed) – TWITTER: @ontarioreign & @reigninsider

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Ontario Reign and Tucson Roadrunners are back in action for the second straight night and, for the Reign, the third consecutive game overall. Tucson came from three goals down yesterday evening to slip past the Reign by a 4-3 final in the shootout, dropping Ontario to 0-2 in the skills competition on the season.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The Reign and Roadrunners conclude a stretch of four head-to-head matchups out of their last six games. Tucson holds a narrow 6-5 points advantage on the season, with the Reign holding a 2-1-1 record against their foes from the desert. Ontario enters tonight’s action tied for fifth in the Pacific Division, just one point out of fourth and four points out of the top three. Tonight marks Ontario’s sixth back-to-back set of the season, with the Reign posting a 1-3-1 record in the second half of those sets to date.

FIRST THINGS FIRST: Ontario opened the scoring last evening, just the fifth time from 21 games this season it has scored first, the fewest total in the AHL. The Reign are 1-2-2 this season when scoring the game’s first goal, as opposed to 8-6-2 when conceding first. When giving up the game’s first goal, Ontario is tied for second in the AHL in wins, trailing only Lehigh Valley (10 victories).

ROY OF LIGHT: Ontario defenseman Matt Roy found the back of the net early in the second period of yesterday evening’s game, his fifth tally of the season. Since November 11, Roy has collected 13 points (4-9-13), the second highest total in the AHL amongst defensemen in that timespan, trailing only Filip Hronek (14 points) of Grand Rapids, with Roy accomplishing his total in one fewer game.

ANNOUNCING HIS RETURN: Reign forward Austin Wagner made his return to the Ontario lineup just 95 seconds into last evening’s game, scoring off of an individual effort down the right wing. Wagner has now tallied three goals from six games played this season with the Reign. At the NHL level, Wagner has skated in 18 games with the Kings, totaling four points (1-3-4), including a goal in his most recent game on Thursday.

HONEY BU-BU: Ontario netminder Peter Budaj has started each of the past four games for the Reign, every game the team has played since he returned from the Kings. Budaj has posted a 2-1-1 record, .902 save percentage and a 2.95 goals against average and collected his first assist of the season on Wagner’s goal yesterday. Budaj has evened his record at 3-3-1 for the season at the AHL level and has extended his franchise-leading wins total to 45, three clear of Jack Campbell.

KALE TO ARMS: Reign defenseman Kale Clague collected the primary assist on Wagner’s goal in yesterday’s overtime loss, his second consecutive game with an assist after breaking a nine-game scoreless drought. Clague has now amassed nine points (1-8-9) from 20 games played this season, with his eight helpers tied for seventh most in the AHL amongst first-year blueliners, with his nine points tied for tenth.

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Kevin Gravel

#4 | 6′ 4″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: DOB: 2/17/1996
Birthplace: KINGSFORD, MI
Position: D


Gravel made his NHL debut with Los Angeles in the 2015-16 season, skating with the Kings for four games before returning to AHL affiliate Ontario.

Rob Scuderi

#0 | 6′ 1″ | 212 lb | Age: 37

Born: DOB: 12/30/1978
Birthplace: SYOSSET, NY
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Scuderi is currently playing for the Reign while under contract with the LA Kings. He has won two Stanley Cups, once with the Pittsburgh Penguins and with the Kings.

Michael Mersch

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 225 lb | Age: 24

Born: DOB: 10/2/1992
Birthplace: PARK RIDGE, IL
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Drafted by the Kings in 2011, Mersch is currently playing forward for the Reign. Last season, he drew into his first NHL game for the Kings, where he registered 2 shots and 3 hits.

Michael Latta

#24 | 6′ 0″ | 207 lb | Age: 25

Born: 5/25/1991
Birthplace: KITCHENER, ON
Position: F
Handedness: Right


Prior to turning professional, Latta played major junior hockey in the OHL with the Ottawa 67’s and Guelph Storm. He was drafted into the NHL in 2009 and joined the King’s affiliate Reign in 2016.

Adrian Kempe

#09 | 6′ 1″ | 187 lb | Age: 20

Born: 9/13/1996
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Growing up in Swedan, Kempe made his hockey debut in 2014 in the Swedish Hockey League. He has since been drafted by the Kings, where he is playing for their AHL affiliate team, the Ontario Reign.

Brett Sutter

#07 | 6′ 0″ | 192 lb | Age: 29

Born: 6/2/1987
Birthplace: CALGARY, AB
Position: C


Drafted in 2005 by the Calgary Flames, Sutter was traded to the Reign in 2016. He is the son of LA Kings head couch Darryl Sutter, and the eighth member of the Sutter family to play in the NHL.