The Reign made a roster move this morning, as defenseman Markus Phillips was reassigned from Ontario to Fort Wayne of the ECHL.
Consider this a move to get Phillips some game action. The rookie blueliner has appeared in just one game, Saturday 10/12 against Tucson, which came as a part of an 11F/7D alignment. With a crowded blueline in Ontario right now, consisting of seven healthy defensemen and Sean Durzi back on the ice this week as he closes in on his return to the lineup, it’s important to keep a prospect like Phillips on the ice in game situations.
Fort Wayne plays tonight and tomorrow at home against Jacksonville and has a three-in-three next weekend, offering plenty of game opportunities for Phillips. I’d expect to see goaltender Matthew Villalta make his first pro start tonight with the Komets, and we could see Phillips in the lineup as well.
Phillips was praised by the coaching staff in Ontario for how he handled not being in the lineup most nights. The 20-year-old blueliner routinely had his attitude and character discussed by Reign Head Coach Mike Stothers.
“That’s how you know you’ve got a good character person, how he handles the adversity of maybe being the odd man out, how he supports his teammates,”Stothers said. “He’s been fully supportive of the other defensemen that were playing ahead of him and that’s a real good test for us as a coaching staff, to see how guys respond to that adversity. Do they sulk, do they mope, do they stop working…no, he just dug in harder and he was genuinely hoping for the success of whoever was in the lineup to do well. He’s just been waiting for his opportunity and that’s the sign of a good leader, a good character person and that’s the sign of a good kid that’s been raised well by his parents.”
You never know how things will shake out throughout the course of a season, and expect to see Phillips back with the Reign at some point. Defensemen Austin Strand and Chaz Reddekopp each had a short stint in the ECHL last season, and returned to become regulars in the lineup as opportunities opened up later in the season. Both spoke positively about their experiences with Manchester and returned to Ontario better off for it.
More Reign to come later today, with morning skate slated for 10 AM in advance of the first So-Cal Series matchup of the season in San Diego, scheduled for 7 PM tonight.
From the Reign’s official release –
ONTARIO, CA – The Los Angeles Kings, NHL affiliate of the Ontario Reign, have reassigned defenseman Markus Phillips from Ontario to the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets.
The 20-year-old Phillips (born on March 21, 1999) is a 6-0, 202-pound native of Toronto, Ontario, who made his professional debut with the Reign on October 12 versus Tucson. Prior to beginning his professional career, Phillips appeared in 62 regular-season games in the Ontario Hockey League between the Guelph Storm and Owen Sound Attack, posting 26 points (5-21=26) and a plus-17 rating, helping lead Guelph to an OHL Championship.
The Ontario Reign are underway in the 2019-20 season, their fifth as members of the American Hockey League. For more information on the upcoming season, as well as the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic, to be held in Ontario, visit ontarioreign.com, and to secure your seats with a Reign ticket plan, call 909.941.7825.