PREVIEW – Ontario @ Colorado, 3/7

WHO: Ontario Reign (29-21-5-1) vs. Colorado Eagles (32-17-3-1)
WHEN: Saturday, March 7, 2020 – 6:05 PM
WHERE: Budweiser Events Center – Loveland, CO
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: AHLTV – AUDIO – Mixlr – TWITTER: @ontarioreign & @reigninsider

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Ontario Reign and Colorado Eagles are back in action tonight, to complete the back-to-back set. Colorado took the first meeting by a 4-1 margin yesterday evening.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The Reign held a partial team skate this morning at Budweiser Events Center, with a handful of players on the ice, along with both goaltenders. Goaltender Kevin Poulin was off first this morning, while forward Jacob Doty and defenseman Austin Strand were on late for the second morning in a row, and are tonight’s expected scratches.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: Yesterday’s results around the AHL dropped the Reign to fifth place in the Pacific Division. Ontario and San Diego are tied with 64 points apiece, following last night’s Gulls overtime defeat in San Jose, but the Gulls hold a pair of games in hand. The Reign are three points behind third-placed Stockton, and four points behind Colorado, with both teams victorious in their games yesterday evening.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: With yesterday’s Colorado victory, the Reign fell to 2-2-2 this season in head-to-head action, while the Eagles broke the previously existing 6-6 tie in points earned in the matchup. With two assists, defenseman Jacob MacDonald tied teammate T.J. Tynan for the point lead with seven in head-to-head play, while forward Mikey Eyssimont leads the Reign with six points (2-4-6) from six games played.

POUL AND THE GANG: Ontario goaltender Kevin Poulin came on in relief of Matthew Villalta and stopped all 12 shots he faced during the third period. Poulin, who did not record the decision yesterday, is 2-0-0 on the season with a 3.00 goals against average and a .914 save percentage in three games played this season. Per Mike Stothers’ post-game quotes yesterday, expect Poulin to get the start tonight.

BUY OR SHEL: Ontario forward Sheldon Rempal scored his team’s only goal last night, as his second-period tally tied the game at one 33:31 into the game. Rempal’s goal was his fourth tally of the season, and the 5-10 winger now has six points (2-4-6), along with a +5 rating, over his last nine games played. After a slow start to the season, Rempal has 11 points (4-7-11) over his last 16 games played, along with a +6 rating.

PITCH AND SUTT: Reign forward Brett Sutter collected an assist on his team’s lone goal, giving him nine points (5-4-9) and a +4 rating over his last 11 games played. Included in that stretch was Ontario’s only hat trick of the season, as Sutter scored three goals in the Reign’s 8-4 victory over Tucson on February 28. The Ontario captain also has six points (2-4-6) from his last six games played on the road, dating back to January 24.

STREAKS END, STREAKS CONTINUE: The Reign were unable to extend what was the AHL’s longest active away winning streak, as they lost on the road for the first time since January 11, snapping a seven-game run. Colorado, on the other hand, made it four consecutive wins over the Reign in first games at Budweiser Events Center. The Eagles have outscored Ontario 19-4 in those four games, though the Reign are a much closer 1-1-1 in second games, with the scoreline 9-8 in favor of Ontario.

SCOUTING THE EAGLES: Colorado was led yesterday by forward A.J. Greer, who tallied a goal and an assist, along with goaltender Hunter Miska, who stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced in the victory. Miska improved to 9-1-0 in his last ten games, and 12-2-0 in his last 14 games played. The 6-1 netminder ranks fifth in the AHL with a .925 save percentage this season, from 24 games played overall.

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