PREVIEW - Ontario @ Texas, 12/29 - LA Kings Insider

WHO: Ontario Reign (10-12-3-2) @ Texas Stars (16-10-3-1)
WHEN: Saturday, December 29, @ 5:00 PM (Pacific)
WHERE: H-E-B Center at Cedar Park – Cedar Park, TX
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: AHLTV – AUDIO – Away Link – TWITTER: @ontarioreign & @reigninsider

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Ontario Reign conclude a weekend back-to-back set with a visit to Cedar Park to take on the Texas Stars. The Reign enter tonight’s game off of last evening’s 3-2 defeat in San Antonio on the first leg of their Texas trip.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Tonight marks the second and final meeting of the season between Ontario and Texas, the lone matchup in the Lone Star State. The Reign were victorious in their first game, a 5-3 victory on November 1 at Citizens Business Bank Arena. Ontario faces a Texas team that has lost just once in regulation in its last ten games and returns to Cedar Park for the first time since Game 2 of last season’s Calder Cup Playoffs, which ended with a Reign victory. Ontario had a partial morning skate before today’s game, but no skaters were on for extra work. Goaltender Peter Budaj did not skate, Jack Campbell skated but was off first and Cole Kehler was on for the entire skate…..take from that what you will.

WHEN WE LAST MET: The Reign won their most recent meeting against the Stars on the road, a 5-1 victory in Game 2 of last season’s Calder Cup Playoffs. Forward Philippe Maillet led Ontario with a pair of goals in the victory, while forward Brett Sutter collected two assists. Eight of the Reign’s 18 skaters from that game remain on their roster, while one more, forward Michael Mersch, now plays for the Stars.

EARLY LEAD WOES: The Reign led after the game’s opening 20 minutes last evening for the seventh time this season, but the team has posted just a 1-3-3 record in those games, accounting for just 5 of their 25 total points. Ontario also scored the first goal for the ninth time this season, with the Kings’ top affiliate at just 2-4-3 in those games. The Reign also fell to 4-2-1 when tied after two periods of play.

SHORTHANDED BANDITS: After not giving up a shorthanded goal in its first 25 games of the season, Ontario has now conceded while on the power play in back-to-back games, extended with Austin Poganski’s goal yesterday evening. The Reign scored twice while shorthanded two games prior, on December 21 against San Diego, marking a combined four total man-down goals over Ontario’s last three games played.

BAU AND ARROW: Ontario forward Kyle Bauman collected a goal and an assist in last night’s defeat, the first multi-point game of his professional career. Bauman has now posted a point in three straight games and has amassed nine (3-6-9) points on the season. Though he did not tally shorthanded yesterday evening, Bauman is tied for seventh in the AHL with two shorthanded goals, the only Ontario player with multiple man-down tallies this season.

BRICKLEY’S BACK: The Reign made a roster move yesterday as defenseman Daniel Brickley was assigned by Los Angeles. Brickley appeared in four games while in the NHL with the Kings, collecting one assist, which came on December 18 against the Winnipeg Jets. The 6-3 blueliner has also posted five points (2-3-5) from 21 games played in the AHL with Ontario during his rookie campaign.

BIG MIKE: Texas forward Michael Mersch will face the Ontario Reign tonight for the second time as an opposing player. Mersch spent the last four seasons in the Los Angeles organization, including much of the past three campaigns with the Reign. Mersch departed as Ontario’s all-time leading scorer with 61 goals and 125 points. The 6-2 forward is also second all-time in Reign history in assists (64) and third in games played (165).

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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.