WHO: Ontario Reign (22-16-1-1) vs. Colorado Eagles (25-13-3-0)
WHAT: AHL REGULAR SEASON GAME #41
WHEN: Tuesday, January 31 @ 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 host the Colorado Eagles at home inside Toyota Arena Tuesday night while looking to close out the month of January by adding a result to the win column in the standings. The contest is the third time the two teams have met during the month, which included a midweek two-game series in Colorado on Jan. 17-18 that resulted in a split with the Reign earning a 7-3 win before the Eagles claimed a 5-2 decision the following night. The last time the two teams met up in California was on Dec. 2 and consisted of a 3-1 win for Ontario in front of Cal Petersen, who made his AHL debut with 27 saves. It was the second win for the Reign over the Eagles, with the first coming in Colorado with a shutout performance by Matt Villalta on Nov. 3.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Coming off a split in a two-game series on the road in Texas against the Stars, Colorado is holding third place in the Pacific Division with 53 points to their name. The Eagles are 7-2-1 in their last 10 outings. Meanwhile, Ontario is looking to close the gap between themselves in fifth and Abbotsford in fourth and can move within two points of the Canucks with a win on Tuesday. Colorado is the third-best defensive team in the AHL, giving up 2.56 goals per contest, while the Reign rank eighth (2.85). A former member of the Eagles, TJ Tynan has led the Reign with 10 points in the team’s five previous matchups with Colorado on a goal and nine assists, while Lias Andersson (5-1=6) and Jordan Spence (1-5=6) have also produced six points for Ontario.
LAST TIME OUT: The Calgary Wranglers scored late goals in each period to defeat the Ontario Reign by a score of 4-1 Sunday night at Toyota Arena. Lias Andersson netted the lone goal for Ontario in a losing effort, scoring his 20th of the season to extend his point scoring streak to eight games. Cal Petersen started in goal for the second consecutive day and stopped 28 shots to keep the Reign within one until the Wranglers posted two late empty net goals.
TYNAN’S TAKEOVER: January has been the best month of the season for Reign captain TJ Tynan, who is leading in the AHL with 23 points in the team’s 13 games since the calendar flipped to 2023. Dating back to the team’s trip to Colorado, Tynan has netted or helped set up 14 out of Ontario’s last 19 goals, including a goal and 13 assists. In San Diego Saturday night Tynan tied his career-high with four assists before extending his current point streak to seven games the following day with an assist against Calgary. The Orland Park, Illinois native has now reached the 50-point plateau for the fourth time in his AHL career and currently ranks second in the league in overall scoring while leading all skaters with 45 assists.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES: The AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, the Eagles are led by Charles Hudon who is up to 16 goals and 30 points on the season which both rank first on the team. Forward Jean-Luc Foudy is just behind Hudon with 29 points in 33 games on 11 goals and 18 assists Winger Callahan Burke has scored 22 points on 11 goals and 11 assists, while longtime NHLer Alex Galchenyuk and Oskar Olausson have also made an offensive impact with 23 and 16 points respectively. Defender Keaton Middleton leads the active blueliners with 17 points on two goals and 15 assists. In goal, Justus Annunen and Jonas Johansson have both had success while splitting time evenly in between the pipes. Johansson has an 11-7-0 record in 18 appearances with a 2.41 goals-against average while Annunen’s earned a 14-6-3 record in 23 contests with a GAA at 2.47.
LIAS LEADS THE WAY: Lias Andersson’s four-point night Saturday in San Diego with two goals and two assists was another impressive display in a month filled with highlights. Including a total of four goals in three games last week against Calgary, Andersson has now scored six times in Ontario’s last four games and 11 in his last 10 outings. The Smogen, Sweden native leads the Reign with 20 goals overall this season and is currently on a season-high eight game point scoring streak in which he’s totaled 13 points (9-4=13). Andersson took matters into his own hands Wednesday, scoring a game-tying power play goal with 2:11 remaining in the third period before adding a game-winning strike 33 seconds into overtime to give Ontario its first-ever victory over Calgary. He has now recorded multiple goals in a game five times during the 2022-23 campaign.
SUPERIOR SPENCE: Jordan Spence has continued to be a difference-maker for Ontario on defense and has posted assists in six of his last eight contests over the last two weeks to increase his season total to 27 helpers which ranks second on the roster. 16 of the second-year blueliner’s helpers have come via the power play, which is fourth-most in the AHL among all league defenders this year. Spence also ranks seventh in defensive scoring with 29 points (2-27=29) and first among blueliners with 118 shots on net. The Sydney, Australia native has also suited up for three games with the LA Kings this season, adding to his 27 career games at the NHL level with the club that selected him in the fourth round of the 2019 NHL Draft.
MADDEN THE GAMER: Tyler Madden didn’t take long to gel with his new linemates TJ Tynan and Lias Andersson, joining the duo on Saturday in San Diego and immediately producing the biggest offensive output of his career for Ontario in the 7-2 win by earning three points on two goals and an assist. Both of Madden’s goals came on the power play from the front of the net. His first extended the team’s lead to 2-0 at 12:41 of the first, while his second made it 6-2 late in the middle period. The two goals put the third-year pro into double figures for the season with 10 tallies in 38 games. Madden also has a new career-high with four power play goals on the year.