The Ontario Reign (22-15-1-1) got their offense going Saturday night, scoring three times in each of the first two periods on their way to a 7-2 road victory over the San Diego Gulls (12-31-0-0) at Pechanga Arena.
Lias Andersson continued his recent hot play, earning a four-point game for the first time in his career, while TJ Tynan had four assists for the second time in Ontario’s last four games and Tyler Madden posted his first-career three-point night with two goals and an assist.
More from head coach Marco Sturm, Madden and Tynan below.
Cal Petersen made the start for the Reign and stopped 31 shots to secure his ninth AHL win of the year while picking up his first career AHL assist.
Just 4:55 into the first, Andersson put the Reign ahead with an opening goal on a rush into the San Diego zone set up by Madden and Tynan.
Later in the opening frame, Madden extended the Reign lead to 2-0 with his third power play goal of the season by knocking home a loose rebound in front of the net at 12:41. Assists on the play went to his linemates Andersson and Tynan.
The Gulls responded quickly to earn their first strike of the night on a shot by Bryce Kindopp 40 seconds after Madden’s goal, cutting Ontario’s advantage to 2-1.
But just 17 seconds after San Diego got on the board, Martin Chromiak found room down the left wing and took the puck to the net, eventually slipping it past goaltender Olle Eriksson Ek to put the Reign back in front by two goals at 3-1. Chromiak’s eighth tally of the season was the third goal in a span of 57 seconds during the first and came with assists for Kim Nousiainen and Petersen.
The Gulls cut into their deficit 1:33 into the second when Rocco Grimaldi beat Petersen with a wrister to make it 3-2, but the remainder of the frame saw Ontario net three more goals to increase their lead.
Jacob Moverare scored his second goal of the year, both of which have come against San Diego, at 4:39 of the middle period by cleaning up a shot from Aidan Dudas that went off both posts and remained loose in the crease.
Then Moverare got his second point of the period at 11:02 when his initial shot created a rebound at the side of the SD net which Andersson deposited into the cage for his second goal of the night and 19th of the season which also had a second assist credited to Tynan.
The Gulls then made a goaltending change, turning to Lukas Dostal after Eriksson Ek allowed Ontario’s fifth goal.
With 1:12 remaining in the middle period, Madden scored his second power play goal of the game, netting another rebound strike just 18 seconds into the man-advantage from Andersson and Tynan.
Ontario tacked on its final goal at 14:25 of the third when Alan Quine slapped home a pass through the slot by Taylor Ward. Quine’s fifth goal of the season was the lone tally during the final frame, as Petersen turned aside 19 San Diego shots during the last 20 minutes to keep the home team off the board.
The Reign outshot the Gulls 37-33 overall while capitalizing on the only two power plays of the night. Saturday’s game was the first time during 2022-23 that Ontario went a full game without spending any time shorthanded.
Eriksson Ek suffered the loss, finishing with 13 saves in 31 minutes of action while Dostal made 17 saves on 19 shots in relief during 28:58.
Ontario returns home to Toyota Arena on Sunday evening for a matchup against the Calgary Wranglers at 5 p.m.
On Tyler Madden playing on the top line
Tynan and Lias [Andersson] have been really hot right now. We felt like they needed a guy who they could play with, and Madden was our guy and he did a good job today. It was not just on the power play but on five-on-five. He can make plays and that’s why he’s playing on the first line right now.
On not having to spend any time killing penalties
San Diego played last night, so they probably didn’t have their best game. They looked a little tired as well, so that was probably part of it. We like it that way. We had our couple power plays and we didn’t have to kill anything and that doesn’t really happen very often. It was definitely a clean game.
On Cal Petersen’s big saves in the final minutes
That’s why he’s one of the better goalies and that’s why he’s an NHL goalie. The message [to the team] was not just to get the game done, and that also goes for the goalie. Don’t let him hang. He’s one of us and he’s been outstanding since he’s been with us, so we wanted to take care of him too. He did a pretty good job tonight.
On tomorrow’s game against Calgary
We just want to make sure we get some rest tonight. It’s going to be a different opponent tomorrow. We just played them but we also knew it took a lot of work, and we’ve got to make sure we’re ready to play tomorrow and to give everything we have.