REIGN PREVIEW – Ontario vs. San Jose, 2/24

WHO: Ontario Reign (29-18-2-1) vs. San Jose Barracuda (21-25-0-4)
WHEN: Friday, February 24 @ 7:00 PM Pacific
WHERE: Toyota Arena – Ontario, CA
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: AHLTV – AUDIO: Mixlr – TWITTER: @ShafReign & @OntarioReign

The Ontario Reign are set to continue a four-game homestand Friday night at Toyota Arena when they host the San Jose Barracuda. In the second contest of the home run, Ontario is looking to bounce back from a 6-1 loss they suffered to the Coachella Valley Firebirds on Wednesday. Friday’s matchup is the sixth of eight between the Reign and Cuda, with Ontario holding a record of 2-1-1-1 in the first five head-to-head contests. The series has been a close one, with Ontario outscoring San Jose 15-14 in the first five meetings while also outshooting the Barracuda 153-147.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Ontario’s recent loss to the Firebirds on Wednesday snapped a streak that saw it secure standings points from seven straight games, which included wins in six, to move into a tie for fourth place in the Pacific Division standings for the first time since Dec. 20. The Reign are even with the Colorado Eagles, each with 61 points, and sit one point behind the third place Abbotsford Canucks. San Jose is in eighth place through 50 games with 46 points and a points percentage of 0.460. The Barracuda are four points back of seventh, the final spot in the division’s playoffs. Ontario ranks sixth in the league’s defensive rankings, allowing 2.82 goals per game, while San Jose has been a tough team to crack on special teams with an 81.4% rate on the penalty kill. The Reign have been led by forwards Lias Andersson and Taylor Ward against the Barracuda, who have each scored four points in the five meetings on two goals and two assists. TJ Tynan has also picked up four points on a goal and three assists. San Jose’s leaders against Ontario are Thomas Bordeleau (3-1=4), as well as C.J. Suess (3-1=4) and captain Andrew Agozzino (0-4=4).

LAST TIME OUT: The Coachella Valley Firebirds scored four times in the second period on their way to a 6-1 over the Ontario Reign on Wednesday night at Toyota Arena. Kole Lind led the way for the visitors, scoring two of the four in the middle period, while Joey Daccord earned the win in net with saves on 24 of Ontario’s 25 shots on goal. The loss snapped the Reign’s seven-game streak where they were unbeaten in regulation, which dated back to Feb. 4. Ontario’s only tally came from Martin Chromiak in the first period, his fifth goal in six games against the Firebirds this season.

DUDAS REACHES NEW HEIGHTS: With a shorthanded goal during the second period of Monday’s shootout win, Aidan Dudas set a new professional career-high with 24 points in 49 games for Ontario this season. Dudas has also tied his previous career-best with 10 goals this year when he netted his first shorthanded tally of 2022-23. The Parry Sound, Ont. native followed that game up with an assist in the first period of Wednesday’s loss for his 25th point of the current campaign. Dudas has totaled 154 games in his pro career, all of which have come with Ontario after he was originally selected by the LA Kings in the fourth round of the 2018 NHL Draft.

SCOUTING THE BARRACUDA: San Jose is fighting for their playoff lives, holding a record of 21-25-0-4 through 50 games. Veteran forward Andrew Agozzino had been the team’s leading scorer all season with 40 points, but he was recently surpassed by rookie attacker William Eklund who is up to 41 points in his first pro season. Both have netted 17 goals, while Eklund has 24 assists and Agozzino has earned 23 helpers. Thomas Bordeleau has found the back of the net 19 times, the most of any player on the team, while totaling 34 points in his own rookie campaign. Defender Derrick Pouliot leads the team’s blueliners with 17 points on two goals and 15 assists. In goal, San Jose has seen three netminders share time in between the pipes with veteran Aaron Dell and rookies Eetu Makiniemi and Strauss Mann. Mann leads the team with a 0.907 save percentage and has also posted a 2.81 goals-against average, but has only appeared in 12 games, while Makiniemi has seen action in 22 contests while Dell has played 21.

CHROMIAK CONTINUES TO SCORE: Martin Chromiak found the back of the net for the fourth time in his last seven games Wednesday, scoring his 13th goal of the season in the first period on a rebound that was left in front of the net. Chromiak also had a big night last Saturday, when he bookended the scoring for Ontario in a win over San Diego, netting the opening goal of the game on a breakaway off a feed by linemate Jack Becker before finishing the contest with his first-career overtime game-winner. The Ilava, Slovakia native now 23 points in 34 games this season. His goal total ranks third on the team, while his point total is sixth among Reign skaters.

MOVERARE MAKES IT COUNT: Jacob Moverare has continued to be one of Ontario’s most relied-on defenders this season, his third as a professional within the LA Kings’ system. In 40 games with Ontario this season, Moverare has three goals and 11 assists for 14 points, one shy of his career-high of 15 which he set during his rookie season in 2021. Moverare picked up his 11th assist of the year during the first period of Wednesday’s loss to Coachella Valley and scored in the Reign’s most recent matchup against San Jose, registering his third goal of the season after blocking a shot in his own zone and joining a rush up the ice. The Ostersund, Sweden native has played 96 games during his AHL career, all coming with Ontario.

ROAD WARRIORS: With the shootout win in Coachella Valley on Monday, Ontario extended their season-long road unbeaten streak to seven straight games, which dates back to an overtime win in Calgary on Jan. 25. After that contest, which included a come from behind performance ending in two straight goals by Lias Andersson, the Reign won three straight away from the Inland Empire in San Diego, Bakersfield and Henderson before falling short in OT to San Jose last Wednesday and defeating the Gulls and Firebirds over the holiday weekend. Overall, the Reign have a 15-9-1-1 record in 26 road games this season while securing 32 points in the standings.

2022-23 Head-to-Head Schedule vs. San Jose (all times Pacific):
Wed., Oct. 26 at San Jose, 2-1 W – Full Recap
Thu., Nov. 10 at San Jose, 3-4 SOL – Full Recap
Wed., Nov. 23 vs. San Jose, 5-1 W – Full Recap
Fri., Jan. 6 vs. San Jose, 2-4 L –
Full Recap
Wed., Feb. 15 at San Jose, 3-4 OTL – Full Recap
Fri., Feb. 24 vs. San Jose, 7:00 p.m.
Fri., Mar. 3 at San Jose, 7:00 p.m.
Wed., Mar. 8 vs. San Jose, 7:00 p.m.

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