WHO: Ontario Reign (30-21-4-1) vs. Calgary Wranglers (40-15-3-0)
WHAT: AHL REGULAR SEASON GAME #57
WHEN: Friday, March 10 @ 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 look to get back on track when they host the Calgary Wranglers at Toyota Arena to begin a two-game home series Friday night. The Wranglers will be a steep test for the Reign, as the team comes into the matchup in first place in the Pacific Division and has claimed five of the first six contests between the two teams this season. This weekend’s series represents the final two meetings of Ontario and Calgary during the 2022-23 AHL regular season. The Reign are coming off a 6-2 loss to the San Jose Barracuda on Wednesday, while Calgary claimed a 2-1 victory at home over Colorado on the same evening in their most recent outing.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Ontario remains in close competition for home ice in the opening round of the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs, entering Friday’s game two points shy of fourth place in the Pacific and four points back of third. The Reign are looking to catch both Abbotsford and Colorado sit directly ahead of them in the standings. Calgary has the top point total in the division (83), but remain behind Coachella Valley in points percentage, as the Firebirds have played five less games than the Wranglers. The Wranglers rank second in the AHL on the defensive side of the puck, allowing just 2.57 goals per game, and have the third-highest offensive average at 3.62 goals per night. Calgary’s 210 total goals are the most of any club in the league. Ontario has been one of the better defensive teams in the league this season, entering tonight’s game in eighth in the league’s rankings by allowing just 2.89 goals per contest. The Reign are also second among AHL teams on the penalty kill at 84.5% and sixth on the power play at 22.7%.
LAST TIME OUT: The San Jose Barracuda scored four unanswered goals to defeat the Ontario Reign Wednesday night by a final score of 6-2 at Toyota Arena. Ontario’s goals both came in the first period from forwards Alan Quine and Tyrell Goulbourne. The Reign killed all four San Jose power plays in the game, increasing their season-long penalty killing percentage to 84.5% which ranks second-highest in the AHL.
TYNAN AT THE TOP OF THE LIST: With four points from two games last weekend on a goal and three assists, Reign captain TJ Tynan has overtaken the top spot in the AHL’s scoring race. Tynan, who has played in all 56 of Ontario’s contests this season, is now leading the league with 68 points on eight goals and 60 assists. The attacker’s assist total is 11 more than the next closest player, while he also leads the AHL in power play assists (30) and power play points (33). Despite all the success, Tynan is still 30 points shy of his career-high in scoring that he set last season when he posted 98 points in just 62 games on 14 goals and 84 assists on his way to a second straight league MVP award.
SCOUTING THE WRANGLERS: Calgary continues to hold the top spot in the Pacific Division standings and a league-high 40 wins with 14 games remaining in their inaugural regular season. The team’s leading scorer Matthew Phillips has 59 points in 52 games on 28 goals and 31 assists. His goal total leads the way in the AHL, and he ranks fifth in the league in overall scoring. Phillips has also been credited with 10 game-winning goals this season which leads the league. Behind him, Connor Zary leads the team with 32 helpers and ranks second with 50 points. Rookie defender Jeremie Poirier leads the team’s blueliners with 38 points in 55 games on seven goals and 31 assists. Former Reign captain Brett Sutter has been a mainstay in the team’s lineup, scoring 27 points on 13 goals and 14 assists while appearing in 56 of the Wranglers’ 58 contests. In net, reigning AHL Goaltender of the Year Dustin Wolf has played 45 games and picked up where he left off last season with a 2.25 goals-against average and a 0.927 save percentage with a record of 33-9-2 and four shutouts.
INSIDE THE SERIES: The Reign have been led by linemates Lias Andersson and TJ Tynan against the Wranglers in the six previous meetings between the teams this season. Andersson leads the way with a team-high six goals and seven points, while Tynan has five assists and six points. Calgary’s leader against Ontario has been Connor Zary, who has a team-high six assists and seven points while appearing in all six contests. In addition, Mitch McLain has five points with a goal and four assists and goaltender Dustin Wolf is 5-0-1 against the Reign while playing every minute of action in the series with a 1.83 goals-against average and a 0.941 save percentage.
ANDERSSON’S ASSISTS: While Lias Andersson is Ontario’s team leader in goals scored this season with 23 tallies, he’s also dished out quite a few assists of late. The Smogen, Sweden native has posted five helpers in his last four games, including two in each of Ontario’s outings last weekend in San Jose and Bakersfield. Both of his assists Friday came on goals by linemate Tyler Madden and each of his helpers the following night came in the third period on goals by TJ Tynan and Samuel Fagemo. Andersson’s 23 assists this season rank third-most on the team leaderboard and are a career-high, as are his goal and point totals.
PENALTY KILL PROWESS: Since the calendar flipped to 2023, one of the most successful aspects of Ontario’s game has been the team’s performance on the penalty kill. Dating back to the start of February, Ontario has successfully killed off 45 of their last 49 penalties, a rate of 91.8%. That run has vaulted them into a tie for second in the AHL’s season-long overall penalty killing rankings at 84.5%, ranking just behind league leader Chicago who are at 85% for the year. The Reign’s home killing percentage of 87.2% is the highest success rate in the league, with Ontario allowing just 14 man-advantage goals despite being shorthanded 109 times.
2022-23 Head-to-Head Schedule vs. Calgary (all times Pacific):
Tue., Dec. 20 at Calgary, 1-4 L – Full Recap
Wed., Dec. 21 at Calgary, 2-5 L – Full Recap
Sat., Dec. 31 vs. Calgary, 1-3 L – Full Recap
Tue., Jan. 24 at Calgary, 3-4 L – Full Recap
Wed., Jan. 25 at Calgary, 3-2 OTW – Full Recap
Sun., Jan. 29 vs. Calgary, 1-4 L – Full Recap
Fri., Mar. 10 vs. Calgary, 7:00 p.m.
Sun., Mar. 12 vs. Calgary, 3:00 p.m.
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