WHO: Ontario Reign (23-17-1-1) vs. Tucson Roadrunners (21-20-4-0)
WHAT: AHL REGULAR SEASON GAME #43
WHEN: Saturday, February 4 @ 6:00 PM Pacific
WHERE: Toyota Arena – Ontario, CA
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: AHLTV – AUDIO: Mixlr – TWITTER: @ShafReign & @OntarioReign
TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Ontario Reign aim to bounce back from Friday’s 2-0 shutout loss on Saturday in the back half of a two-game series with the Tucson Roadrunners at Toyota Arena. The Reign are 3-2-0 against the Roadrunners this season, splitting their first series in Ontario during late November before sweeping a pair of road games in Tucson in December and falling on Friday. Despite having more wins, Ontario has been outscored by the Roadrunners 13-12 in the season series and outshot 175-149 overall. The Reign have netted four power play tallies on 17 opportunities (23.5%) and have killed off all but three of Tucson’s 19 man-advantages (84.2%).
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Despite closing out a successful month of January on Tuesday to finish 8-5-1 in 14 outings, the Reign are just two points ahead of Tucson for fifth place in the Pacific Division standings. The Roadrunners, who have played an additional three games, went back over the .500 mark with their win on Friday with 21 wins and 20 regulation losses. The Reign rank seventh in the league’s defensive rankings, allowing 2.81 goals per game, while Tucson is ninth offensively, scoring 3.36 goals per contest. Ontario captain TJ Tynan has led the Reign with 6 points, all assists, in the team’s five previous matchups with Tucson, while Jordan Spence has posted three helpers. The Roadrunners have been led by Adam Cracknell who has six points (4-2=6), while Michael Carcone (1-4=5) and Cam Dineen (0-5=5) have each registered five.
LAST TIME OUT: Tucson Roadrunners goaltender Ivan Prosvetov stopped all 23 shots the Ontario Reign put on net to earn his team a 2-0 win on Friday night in the first contest of a two-game weekend series between the clubs at Toyota Arena. Cal Petersen did all he could to keep the Reign in the game, turning aside 38 shots while allowing just a single goal in a losing effort. Tucson’s Hudson Elynuik scored the lone 5-on-5 goal of the game, while Milos Kelemen added an empty-net strike in the closing minutes.
TYNAN NAMED AHL PLAYER OF THE MONTH: On Wednesday, the AHL announced Reign captain TJ Tynan as the league’s Player of the Month award winner for January. Tynan skated in 14 games for Ontario during the month and totaled three goals and 22 assists for 25 points – the most in a calendar month by any AHL player in more than six years. The 30-year-old’s scoring was highlighted by two four-assist efforts, helping on all four Reign goals in an overtime loss to Coachella Valley on Jan. 21 before matching that output in a 7-2 win at San Diego on Jan. 28. The attacker brought an eight-game scoring streak into February, with 19 points over that span and was the first player to record 25 points in a month since the Chicago Wolves’ Kenny Agostino in December 2016. After entering January tied for 26th in the AHL in scoring, Tynan now ranks second with 53 points – including a league-leading 47 assists – while appearing in all the Reign’s 42 games this season.
SCOUTING THE ROADRUNNERS: Tucson has been led offensively by returning forward Michael Carcone, who leads the AHL with 61 points this season in 38 games on 22 goals and 39 assists. Carcone also leads the league with 29 power play points on 11 man-advantage goals and 18 assists. Forwards Jean-Sebastien Dea and Laurent Dauphin are next on the team’s scoring leaderboard, each with 36 points. Dea has an even 18 goals and 18 assists, while Dauphin has posted 16 goals and 20 helpers in 39 games. Defender Cam Dineen leads the club’s blueliners with 32 points, which have consisted of three goals and 29 helpers. In net, Ivan Prosvetov has led the way with 13 wins in 27 appearances while posting a 3.16 goals-against average. Veteran Jon Gillies has also seen action in 15 games and has a record of 5-8-2.
PETERSEN PUTTING UP A FIGHT: Cal Petersen, who has played the most games of any goaltender in Reign history (134) and second-most in franchise history behind Martin Jones (158), kept his club in the game with 38 saves during Friday night’s loss. The netminder has now allowed two or fewer goals in each of his past three starts. Just a single puck got past Petersen in the second period, lowering his season AHL goals-against average to 2.67 while his save percentage was raised to 0.917. The Waterloo, Iowa native recently reached the 1,000-minute mark for the season with Ontario and has posted a 9-8-1 record with one shutout since joining the team to start December.
SUPERIOR SPENCE: Jordan Spence has continued to be a difference-maker for Ontario on defense while helping on the offensive end with assists in seven of his last 10 contests to increase his season total to 28 helpers which ranks second on the roster. The Sydney, Australia native also found the back of the net for the third time this season on the power play in the Reign’s most recent win over Colorado on Tuesday night. 16 of the second-year blueliner’s helpers have come via the power play, which is sixth-most in the AHL. Spence also ranks fifth in defensive scoring with 31 points (3-28=31) and second among blueliners with 122 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.
A RARE BLANKING: Last night’s defeat was the first time Ontario had been shut out at Toyota Arena since the Colorado Eagles held them off the board on Jan. 25, 2019. The only players remaining on the current roster who played that night include Cal Petersen and Austin Wagner. Since that contest, the Reign played 96 games inside their home arena and scored at least once during all of them prior to Friday.