The Ontario Reign (24-17-1-1) scored three times in the first period and got 36 saves from goaltender Cal Petersen on their way to a 5-2 victory over the Tucson Roadrunners (21-21-4-0) Saturday night at Toyota Arena.
Tyler Madden led the way for the Reign on offense, scoring three points with two goals and an assist, while Lias Anderson registered two assists. In splitting a two-game weekend series with the Roadrunners, Ontario went a combined 10-for-10 on the penalty kill, including five kills in each game and a crucial 5-on-3 against during the third period.
More from head coach Marco Sturm, Madden and Petersen below.
Madden got the Reign on the board at 6:03 of the first, just seconds after Tucson had a shot go off the left post. Andersson carried the puck into the offensive zone on a rush before finding Madden open on the right wing, who put a shot just inside the bar for his 11th of the year.
Two minutes after scoring, Madden took the first penalty of the game for tripping and as he exited the box, he received a homerun pass that set him free on a breakaway. He attempted a move to his forehand but hit the outside of the net on the chance. Then moments later, Tucson’s Cam Dineen snuck a shot from a sharp angle on the left circle underneath the pad of Petersen to tie the game up at 1-1.
But Ontario regained the lead at 14:37 when Samuel Fagemo snuck behind the Tucson defense and buried a wrist shot past the glove of goaltender Tyler Parks to put the Reign ahead 2-1.
Before the end of the first, with just six seconds left in Ontario’s first man-advantage of the evening, Martin Chromiak blocked a clearing attempt with his body along the end boards. After the puck settled down, Chromiak fed Alex Turcotte in front for a finishing shot that extended the Reign lead to 3-1.
Despite lots of chances for both sides in the middle period, neither was able to add anything on the scoreboard. A wide open period featured a clean breakaway look for Tucson’s Michael Carcone that was denied by Petersen.
The Roadrunners put a total of 20 shots on goal during the third in a comeback attempt, but only struck once, cutting the lead to 3-2 on a goal off a faceoff by Jean-Sebastien Dea at 16:03.
Tucson pulled Parks for an extra attacker with 1:20 remaining in the third, but it took only seconds for Ontario to capitalize on an empty net. First, Madden lifted a puck into the air that TJ Tynan tracked down to score his seventh goal of the season and then Tynan returned the favor, feeding Madden for a second empty-net strike 22 seconds later.
Tynan’s goal gave him the 500th AHL point of his professional career. He now has 55 total points this season which leads the Reign and is second-most in the AHL.
The Roadrunners controlled the shot count for the second consecutive game this weekend, this time by a 38-29 margin, while Turcotte’s goal was the lone power play tally of the evening. Ontario finished 1-for-2 on the man-advantage in the contest. Parks stopped 24 shots in a losing effort for Tucson.
On the team’s quick start and Madden’s early goal
We wanted to have a good start. We were obviously disappointed with the result last night and anytime you play back-to-back games against the same team, you want to win the next one if you lose the first one. It was a huge goal. Playing with the lead is obviously important. Our record is way better when we score first, so good on us to be ready to go and obviously we had some really good efforts from a lot of different guys.
On if the team gets fired up after a tough loss
There’s a little bit more jump in the offensive zone and we’re able to create some transition by making some quick plays to the neutral zone that really helped. And scoring off the rush is huge. A really important part of our game is our transition game, and we were able to get a couple by [the goalie] and kind of build from there.
On Cal Petersen’s impressive performance
He’s played terrific for us, and tonight was no different. When we needed a big save, he made it, and he made some difficult ones. Some scrambles in front of the net took care of second opportunities. The guys blocked some shots and did some different things there. He came up big and made a couple big saves during the five-on-three. Good on him to enter the break the right way.
On the team’s bounce-back win
It was a great response by the team. We find ways to win. Sometimes it’s tough when you get the lead early in the first period and kind of sit back to hold on for the rest of the game, but I thought we did a good job and committed to it, and then when they pulled their goalie we made the most of it and got the goals.
On starting back-to-back games in 24 hours
I knew last night. We have a decent awareness of games that we’re going to play. We know how the weekend is going to shake up, Matty [Villalta] and me, so it’s good communication. I was prepared to play both games.
On stopping Michael Carcone on the breakaway
He’s a really good player. He’s around the net a lot and makes a lot of plays. I saw him come down and he intercepted a pass and had quite a bit of time, so I knew it wasn’t going to be a bang-bang play. It’s just kind of making a read and seeing what he was looking at. I’m glad I made the save.
On his relationship with T.J. Tynan
He’s been awesome. When I first came down, I had a familiar face and a good friend. T.J. has been awesome. He’s really helped us and he’s been there for me. He’s an NHL-caliber player, one hundred percent, through and through, and he shows up every night on the ice. We’re very fortunate to have a guy and a captain like that on our team and somebody who leads the way.
Ontario has the next five days without a game as the AHL begins its All-Star break. Tynan will represent the Reign in the league’s All-Star Classic on Sunday and Monday, before the team’s schedule resumes Friday with a matchup in Bakersfield against the Condors at 7 p.m.