WHO: Ontario Reign (20-14-1-1) at Calgary Wranglers (27-10-1-0)
WHAT: AHL REGULAR SEASON GAME #37
WHEN: Tuesday, January 24 @ 6:00 PM Pacific
WHERE: Scotiabank Saddledome – Calgary, AB
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: AHLTV – TWITTER: @ShafReign & @OntarioReign
TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Ontario Reign officially begin the second half of their season Tuesday night with the start of a two-game series in Calgary against the Wranglers at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary remains is the only Pacific Division team that Ontario has not secured a win against during the 2022-23 season, with the Wranglers victorious in all three of the teams’ meetings thus far, all coming during the final days of December. Calgary earned home wins by 4-1 and 5-2 scores Dec. 20-21 before defeating the Reign 3-1 on New Year’s Eve at Toyota Arena.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The Wranglers hold second place in the Pacific Division with 55 points from 38 games played, while the Reign are fifth in the standings after securing 42 points. Calgary has been a standout team on both sides of the puck this season, ranking second in the AHL on both offense and defense with 3.82 goals per game while allowing just 2.53 goals per contest. Ontario is eighth in the league defensively, allowing 2.83 goals per game. With three power play tallies in their most recent effort against Coachella Valley on Saturday, the Reign moved into the top-10 in the league’s man-advantage rankings at 21.5%. But they still trail the Wranglers in that category, as Calgary has excelled on both sides of special teams with a 24.4% power play (second) and a 85.4% penalty kill (third).
LAST TIME OUT: Martin Chromiak’s first pro hat trick wasn’t enough for the Ontario Reign Saturday night, who suffered their first overtime loss of the 2022-23 season at the hands of the Coachella Valley Firebirds by a 5-4 score at Toyota Arena. Reign captain TJ Tynan also matched a career-high with four assists in the contest, while Jordan Spence posted two helpers for Ontario. Coachella Valley captain Max McCormick scored the game-winning goal at 3:32 of overtime and recorded four points in the contest with three goals and an assist.
CHROMIAK SHINING BRIGHT: Martin Chromiak continued his recent hot play with his most impressive effort yet Saturday night, scoring three times for his first AHL hat trick during the OT loss to Coachella Valley. Chromiak found the back of the net in all three periods, which included power play goals in both the second and third. The performance extended his career-high point streak to seven games and has seen him post goals in four of his last five. Chromiak’s streak began when he posted his first goal of the season against the Firebirds back on Jan. 8 during a win in Coachella Valley and ever since, he leads all AHL skaters in goals (7) while his 11 points (7-4=11) rank tied for second. The run has moved the rookie’s point total into double digits for the season, now with 14 points in 20 games on seven goals and seven assists.
SCOUTING THE WRANGLERS: The AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Calgary Flames, the Wranglers have been instantly competitive in their first year playing in Calgary. The team’s leading scorer Matthew Phillips has 45 points in 32 games on 23 goals and 22 assists. His goal total leads the way in the AHL, while his point total ranks third in the league. Phillips has also totaled eight game-winning goals already this season. Behind him, Connor Zary leads the team with 26 helpers and ranks second with 40 points. Rookie defender Jeremie Poirier leads the team’s blueliners with 23 points in 36 games on four goals and 19 assists. Former Reign captain Brett Sutter has been a mainstay in the team’s lineup, scoring 21 points on nine goals and 12 assists while appearing in 36 of the Wranglers’ 38 contests. In net, reigning AHL Goaltender of the Year Dustin Wolf has played 29 games and picked up where he left off last season with a 2.15 goals-against average and a 0.930 save percentage with a record of 23-5-0 and four shutouts.
DUDAS DELIVERS: While playing alongside Martin Chromiak over the past two weeks, Aidan Dudas has produced an identical seven-game point streak consisting of nine points on two goals and seven assists. Dudas’ longest run of his career has been highlighted by assists in six straight games, as well as the first power play goal of his pro career which tied Saturday’s contest against Coachella Valley late in the third period. That goal, his eighth of the season, has the Parry Sound, Ontario native just two tallies shy of matching his career-high of 10, which he set last season in 61 games. Overall, Dudas has 18 points this season (8-10=18) while suiting up for all 36 of Ontario’s contests.
LIAS STAYS HOT: With his team-leading 14th goal of the season Wednesday, Lias Andersson found the back of the net for the fifth time in Ontario’s last six games. The Smogen, Sweden native is now tied for second on the team in scoring with 26 total points in 31 games with the Reign this season (14-12=26). Andersson has also taken more of a shoot-first approach since the calendar flipped to 2023, and as a result, he’s moved up to second on the team in shots on goal this season with 92. The attacker is averaging a point per game from the club’s first nine contests of January with five goals and four assists and leads the team with seven power play goals this season.
POWER PLAY PROWESS: With three power play goals in Saturday’s recent overtime loss to Coachella Valley, the Reign increased their season-long man-advantage success rate to 21.5%, while jumping their home percentage to 28.8 which ranks second in the AHL. Ontario’s 21 power play goals in 18 home games have them among one of the nine teams who have earned at least a goal per game while at home on the man-advantage. Recently the Reign have scored power play goals in five of their last six contests overall, jumping their overall league man-advantage ranking to 10th.