REIGN PREVIEW – Ontario vs. Stockton 11/22

WHO: Ontario Reign (10-2-0-1) vs. Stockton Heat (10-0-2-0)
WHEN: Monday, November 22 @ 7:00 PM Pacific
WHERE: Toyota Arena – Ontario, CA
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: AHLTV – AUDIO – Mixlr – TWITTER: @ShafReign & @ontarioreign


TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Ontario Reign battle the Stockton Heat for the second consecutive day in a matchup of the top teams in the AHL’s Pacific Division at Toyota Arena. Stockton matched Ontario’s 10 win total with a 4-2 victory on Sunday and maintained its perfect road record which now stands at 5-0-0. The Heat are one of only two clubs in the AHL that have yet to lose a game in regulation. Sunday’s loss was the first home regulation defeat for the Reign in 2021-22.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: In a rare Monday night tilt, the Reign will look to split their first series of the season against Stockton, the second of eight meetings between the teams this year. Forward Martin Frk, who was held off the scoresheet Sunday for just the fourth time, will look to begin a new point streak after his previous season-high run was snapped at seven games. Vladimir Tkachev still holds his streak of assists in each of his first six AHL contests. Ontario converted once again on the power play Sunday and continues to rank first in the AHL on the man-advantage with a conversion rate of 26.7%, while Stockton is second-best at 25.5%.

LAST TIME OUT: A 31-save performance from goaltender Dustin Wolf helped the Stockton Heat extend their season-opening point streak to 12 games and hold off the Ontario Reign by a score of 4-2 on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Arena. Reign goals were scored by forward Gabriel Vilardi, who played in his first AHL game of the year, as well as defender Helge Grans. Ontario forwards Vladimir Tkachev and TJ Tynan both earned assists in the game to extend lengthy point streaks in the loss.

GABE’S GRAND RETURN: Reign forward Gabriel Vilardi scored the first goal of Sunday’s matchup with Stockton, posting a tally in his first AHL contest of the 2021-22 year. Vilardi also tied for the team lead with five shots on goal and was named the No. 3 star of the game for his efforts. The 22-year-old hadn’t seen AHL action since the 2019-20 campaign when he posted 25 points in 32 games on nine goals and 16 assists. Vilardi began his season in LA with the Kings and scored one goal in seven outings.

FABULOUS FAGEMO: Forward Samuel Fagemo had his highest offensive output of the season last Saturday, scoring three times to earn the first hat trick for a Reign skater during 2021-22. The Goteborg, Sweden native, who added his second assist of the season on Sunday, had just three goals in the team’s first 11 contests. Now in his second season with Ontario, Fagemo’s six goals are the second-most of all Reign skaters this year and his +11 rating is tied for the team lead with Martin Frk and third-highest in the AHL.

SCOUTING THE HEAT: After losing its first game in overtime, Stockton won nine straight, setting a team record in the process, before falling in overtime to Henderson last Saturday and claiming a victory in Ontario Sunday. The Heat are at the top of the Pacific Division standings with a .917 points percentage. Forward Adam Ruzicka leads the way with 16 points in 12 games on 10 goals and six assists. Attacker Jacob Pelletier has earned an impressive 15 points with six goals and nine helpers and Glenn Gawdin, who set the new mark for all-time team scoring on Sunday, has 12 points (1g, 11a). Defender Nick DeSimone’s seven points (1g, 6a) are the most among the team’s blueliners. In net, Dustin Wolf is 6-0-2 in eight appearances with a 2.22 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage, while Adam Werner is unbeaten in four games with an even better 1.96 goals-against average.

TKACHEV HANDING OUT HELPERS: Vladimir Tkachev has shown off his skill since joining the Reign, earning assists in each of his first six career AHL games. The forward had one helper in his first appearance in Henderson before adding a pair of assists in wins over Bakersfield and Colorado on the first weekend of November. Last weekend Tkachev set up Martin Frk for his league-leading ninth goal of the season on Friday before adding three assists the following night in a 6-3 victory over Tucson. Most recently, Tkachev set up a power play goal for defender Helge Grans on Sunday. The Omsk, Russia native began his first pro season in North America with the LA Kings, posting two assists in four contests.

HELP FROM HELGE: Rookie defenseman Helge Grans scored his first career AHL power play goal with just 5.8 seconds to go in the second period of Sunday’s defeat. While posting his second tally of the season, Grans, a former second round selection by the LA Kings in the 2020 NHL Draft, also finished tied for the team lead with five shots on goal. The Ljungby, Sweden native has totaled five points in his first 10 games for Ontario, as well as a +3 rating and 17 shots on goal.

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