WHO: Ontario Reign (18-25-5-2) vs. San Jose Barracuda (29-17-6-5)
WHAT: AHL REGULAR SEASON GAME
WHEN: Saturday, March 2, @ 6:00 PM
WHERE: Citizens Business Bank Arena – Ontario, CA
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: AHLTV – AUDIO – Mixlr – TWITTER: @ontarioreign & @reigninsider
TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Ontario Reign are back at it this evening in the middle game of a weekend three-in-three. The Reign host Iowa tonight, coming off of yesterday’s 8-4 victory over the San Jose Barracuda.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The Reign enter tonight’s action against the Wild as winners of three of their last four games, with points in four of their last five. Ontario and Iowa have faced off twice thus far this season, with each team winning one meeting in Des Moines, with the Reign taking their game 6-5 on January 19. Forward Matt Moulson leads the Reign with four points (2-2-4) against the Wild this season, while goaltender Cal Petersen, an Iowa native, has been between the pipes for both meetings. Though the Reign did not participate in a full morning skate today, Head Coach Mike Stothers said yesterday that Peter Budaj is expected to get the nod this evening in net.
EIGHT CRAZY GOALS: The Ontario Reign scored a season-high eight goals in yesterday’s win over San Jose. The Reign had previously tallied seven goals on two occasions, most recently on December 22 in a 7-6 win over San Diego, and had conceded eight times on one occasion, October 26 against Tucson. Both previous games that the Reign scored seven goals were in games that extended past the originally scheduled 60 minutes.
A WILD STREAK ENDS: A wild winning streak was ended by, well the Wild, yesterday evening, as Iowa defeated Bakersfield by a 1-0 final to end the Condors’ 17-game winning streak. The run included three victories for Bakersfield over the Reign, most recently a 2-1 overtime win in late-February at Rabobank Arena. Iowa now concludes its California swing with games tonight and tomorrow in Ontario.
BUDAJ CALL: Ontario netminder Peter Budaj posted his team’s first shutout of the season as he stopped all 47 shots he faced in a 2-0 victory over Colorado on Saturday. The shutout was Budaj’s 10th as a member of the Reign, his 20th in the AHL overall and his 38th throughout his professional career. Over his last five games, Budaj has stopped 115 of 122 shots, good for a .943 save percentage.
SON OF A MITCH: Reign forward Zack Mitchell collected a pair of assists yesterday evening, as he extended his scoring streak to seven games, with nine points in total (4-5-9) during that run. The fourth-year forward has scored a goal in four of his last six games played and his two helpers yesterday tied a season-high. Mitchell has collected 18 points in total (8-10-18) this season from 44 games played.
NIFTY FIFTY: Ontario forward Matt Moulson became the first Reign skater this season to reach the 50-point mark, as he tied a season and career high with four points in yesterday’s win. Moulson tallied two goals and two assists, also tying a season-high for goals in a game, as he moved to a point-per-game pace on the season. Moulson is now approaching the Reign’s all-time single season scoring mark of 55 points, set by Sean Backman in the 2015-16 season.
MATT MANIA: Ontario added a pair of Matt’s this afternoon as forward Matt Luff was assigned by Los Angeles, and defenseman Matt Finn was signed to a PTO. Luff has amassed 21 points (8-13-21) from 18 AHL games played this season and re-joins the Reign after he skated in his 31st NHL game of the season on Thursday. Finn heads to Ontario as his third AHL stop of the season, after playing four games apiece with Grand Rapids and Hartford.
THREE-IN-THREE: Tonight’s game continues the first and only three-and-three set of the season for the Ontario Reign. This set is the fifth three-in-three in the Reign’s AHL franchise history: The Reign did not skate in any three-in-three sets a season ago, but did have a pair in both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. The Reign’s opponent tonight, the Iowa Wild, are also in the midst of a three-in-three set this weekend, after their win in Bakersfield yesterday.