REIGN PREVIEW – Ontario at Tucson 11/12

WHO: Ontario Reign (9-0-0-1) vs. Tucson Roadrunners (3-4-1-0)
WHEN: Friday, November 12, @ 6:00 PM (Pacific)
WHERE: Tucson Convention Center – Tucson, AZ
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: AHLTV – AUDIO: Mixlr – TWITTER: @ontarioreign & @ShafReign

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Ontario Reign meet the Tucson Roadrunners for the first time during the 2021-22 season Friday night in the opening of a two-game series at the Tucson Convention Center. Ontario is at the top of the Pacific Division standings after 10 games, holding a 9-0-0-1 record which is the best start in franchise history. In addition, the Reign hold a perfect 4-0-0-0 road record to start the year. Tucson is in seventh place in the division and has just one win in their last five contests.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The Reign have four skaters on the active roster with point streaks at three or more games led by Martin Frk, who has been on the scoresheet in five straight. Forwards Alex Turcotte, Vladimir Tkachev and Brayden Burke have all posted points in three straight contests. The Reign rank first in the AHL on the power play with a conversion rate of 28.9%, while Tucson has struggled on the man-advantage with only four tallies (12.5%). Ontario has a penalty kill percentage of 76.3%, while the Roadrunners sit at 73.5%. After losses in their first two matchups with Tucson last season, the Reign were victorious in their final six meetings with the Roadrunners.

LAST TIME OUT: The Reign improved to 9-0-0-1 on the season with a 4-3 decision against the Colorado Eagles on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Arena. Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored twice for Ontario in the victory, while Martin Frk recorded his fourth-straight multi-point effort with two assists and goaltender Garret Sparks stopped 20 shots to earn his third win of the year. Vladimir Tkachev also pitched in with two assists and has now recorded points in all three of his appearances with the Reign to begin his AHL career.

FRK’S HOT STREAK: After recording multi-point games in all three of Ontario’s contests last week, forward Martin Frk was named the AHL’s Player of the Week for the first time in his nine-year pro career. Frk posted four goals and six assists for 10 points in the three outings to take over the league’s scoring lead with 16 total points. His first two nights featured four-point efforts, each with two goals and two assists, on his way to being named the first star of the game. Heading into this weekend’s series, his eight goals lead the AHL, while his 16 points are the second-most in the league. The Pelhrimov, Czech Republic native is also leading all AHL skaters with a +11 rating and ranks sixth with 37 shots on goal.

VILLALTA’S EXCEPTIONAL START: Goaltender Matt Villalta has run with his opportunity in the crease, posting an unblemished 6-0-0 record along with a goals-against average of 2.16 and a save percentage at 0.927 to begin the 2021-22 year. Most recently on Saturday, the netminder tied a career-high with 37 saves that included 17 stops in the first period to propel Ontario to a 6-3 win in Bakersfield. The Kingston, Ont. native is in his third pro season with the Reign and leads the AHL in wins. Overall, Villalta has a record of 24-14-3-1 in 46 appearances with the Reign.

SCOUTING THE ROADRUNNERS: Tucson began the 2021-22 season with three consecutive series splits against Stockton, Texas and San Diego before falling on back-to-back nights to Henderson last weekend. Forward Hudson Fasching leads the team in scoring with seven points on four goals and three assists. Attacker Ben McCartney has also scored four times, while Matias Maccelli has racked up four assists. Defenders Vladislav Kolyachonok, Ty Emberson and Janis Moser have each posted two points apiece. In net, Ivan Prosvetov has gotten the majority of the playing time and holds a 2-2-1 record that includes two shutouts in five appearances. His goals-against average of 1.98 and .920 save percentage both lead the team.

TURC’S TUCKS: Reign forward Alex Turcotte posted goals in back-to-back games last week and is currently on a season-high three-game point streak. After recording an assist in Henderson last Wednesday, the second-year attacker scored in Bakersfield on Saturday by knocking a puck out of the air and into the net. Then on Sunday, Turcotte opened the scoring with his third tally of the year just 1:01 into an eventual win over Colorado. Through the team’s first 10 games of 2021-22, the Island Lake, Ill. native has seven points on three goals and four assists.

POWER PLAY PILING UP GOALS: The Reign have converted on 13 of their power play opportunities this season which is second-most in the AHL, just behind Colorado who has 14 man-advantage tallies. Percentage-wise, Ontario has scored at a rate of 28.9%, which leads the league. Forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan leads the way with a team-high four power play goals, while Martin Frk has three tallies during the man-advantage.

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