PREVIEW – Ontario @ Colorado, 3/6

WHO: Ontario Reign (29-20-5-1) vs. Colorado Eagles (31-17-3-1)
WHEN: Friday, March 6, 2020 – 6:00 PM
WHERE: Budweiser Events Center – Loveland, CO
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: AHLTV – AUDIO – Mixlr – TWITTER: @ontarioreign & @reigninsider

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Ontario Reign are back in action with a pair of games this weekend against the Colorado Eagles. Ontario enters tonight’s contest winners of three consecutive games, extended with a 2-1 shootout win over Bakersfield on Saturday.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The Reign skated this morning in Colorado, in advance of tonight’s action. Goaltender Matthew Villalta was the first netminder off, while forward Jacob Doty and defenseman Max Gottlieb were on late for extra work. Forward Michael Spacek has not yet linked up with the Reign, and thus did not skate this morning.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: Ontario and San Diego flip-flopped in the Pacific Division standings five times last week, ending with the Reign reclaiming the fourth seed with Saturday’s victory over the Condors. The Pacific Division remains tight entering the week, with second through fifth place separated by a total of just three points. A Reign regulation win tonight, combined with a Stockton loss, would vault Ontario into a tie for second in the standings.

SEVENTH HEAVEN: The Reign enter this evening’s action in Colorado winners of seven consecutive road games, their longest streak of the 2019-20 season. The streak is the longest active away winning streak in the AHL, and the third longest overall this season, with a victory tonight moving Ontario into a tie for second in that category. The Reign are also tied for fourth in the AHL with 18 road victories this season.

INSANE FROM BLAINE: Ontario forward Blaine Byron scored his team’s lone goal in regulation on Saturday, as he netted the game-tying tally late in the third period to force overtime and eventually a shootout. Byron was tied for the Reign team lead, along with forward Matt Luff, for points in the month of February, as he five goals and seven assists for 12 points, along with a +6 rating, from 11 games played.

THE COLORADO KID: Reign forward and Colorado native Mikey Eyssimont leads all Ontario skaters in head-to-head action this season, with six points (2-4-6) from five meetings. The Littleton, CO native collected an AHL career-high four points (1-3-4) when the teams met on February 16 at Toyota Arena. Overall this season, Eyssimont is tied with forwards Carl Grundstrom and Jaret Anderson-Dolan for the team lead in points (28) amongst active skaters.

ROSTER MOVES: Ontario made three roster moves this week, swapping forward Michael Spacek for defenseman Daniel Brickley with Manitoba, while recalling defenseman Max Gottlieb from Fort Wayne. Spacek has yet to link up with Ontario, and will not feature tonight against the Eagles, while Gottlieb skated with the team at this morning’s skate, but is not expected to be in this evening’s lineup.

COLD IN COLORADO: The Reign enter tonight’s action just 1-4-1 all-time at Budweiser Events Center in the American Hockey League. Ontario earned its first ever win in Colorado last time out, a 4-0 victory back in November. Ontario has especially struggled in first games in Loveland, posting an 0-3 record with a 15-3 goal differential in favor of the home side, in the first game of back-to-back sets in Colorado.

SCOUTING THE EAGLES: Colorado is one of the AHL’s hottest teams, with a 9-3-0 record in its last 12 games played. The Eagles have been led by the return of forward TJ Tynan, who ranked inside the AHL’s Top-10 with nine assists during the month of February. Hybrid forward/defenseman Jacob MacDonald was tied with Tynan for the Colorado points lead during February with ten points (4-6-10) of his own.

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