WHO: Ontario Reign (30-23-4-1) at Abbotsford Canucks (33-21-2-4)
WHAT: AHL REGULAR SEASON GAME #59
WHEN: Friday, March 17 @ 7:00 PM Pacific
WHERE: Abbotsford Centre – Abbotsford, BC
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: AHLTV – TWITTER: @ShafReign & @OntarioReign
TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: After having four days in between games, the Ontario Reign are in Abbotsford for the first time during the 2022-23 season for a weekend series with the Canucks that begins tonight at the Abbotsford Centre. Ontario and Abbotsford still have six scheduled meetings remaining on the regular season schedule, all of which will be played in the next 23 days. The two clubs have split their first two matchups this year, with Ontario cruising to an 8-2 victory on Oct. 14 before the Canucks got revenge with a 3-2 decision on the first day of March.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Ontario remains in competition for home ice in the opening round of the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs, entering this weekend’s series four points back of the Colorado Eagles for fourth place in the Pacific. While the Reign and Canucks were tied for third prior to their last meeting that opened the month, Abbotsford has now opened up a seven-point edge on Ontario and also holds a three-point lead on Colorado for third with 12 games remaining on their schedule. The Canucks rank ninth in the AHL in offense, scoring 3.28 goals per game, while Ontario comes into Friday’s matchup ranked eighth defensively, allowing just 2.90 goals per game. After scoring twice on the power play against Calgary on Sunday, the Reign moved up to sixth in the league’s man-advantage rankings at 22.6% for the season. Ontario is also third among AHL teams on the penalty kill this season at 84.1%.
LAST TIME OUT: Despite a late comeback effort by the Ontario Reign, three goals in the third period ultimately gave the Calgary Wranglers a 4-3 win on Sunday at Toyota Arena in the back half of a weekend series between the two teams. Ontario struck twice in the first period to claim an early lead with goals from Martin Chromiak and Tobias Bjornfot before a late tally by Tyler Madden in the third to make it a one goal game. Alan Quine also assisted on two of the Reign’s tallies in a losing effort.
MADDEN AIMS FOR 30: With a goal during the third period of Sunday’s loss, Tyler Madden picked up his 16th tally of the season, extending his career high. The former third-round NHL Draft selection in 2018 is also one point shy of 30 on the 2022-23 year and will aim to reach that mark on Friday in Abbotsford. Madden is two points shy of matching his career-high of 31, set last season in 48 games on 14 goals and 17 assists. Eight of his goals this season have come via special teams, with six on the power play and two shorthanded. Madden’s 121 shots on goal this season are third most among all Reign skaters.
SCOUTING THE CANUCKS: Abbotsford’s top scorer during 2022-23 is former Reign defender Christian Wolanin, who had 55 points in 49 games on six goals and 49 assists before a recall to Vancouver in mid-February. Linus Karlsson is the team’s active leader in both goals and points, posting 19 tallies and 24 assists for 43 points in 60 games. Justin Dowling is just behind him with 41 points on 11 goals and 30 assists, while Tristen Nielsen has 38 points on 14 goals and 24 helpers. Arturs Silovs has seen the most action in between the pipes, going 22-10-5 in 38 appearances this season while leading the club with a 2.48 goals-against average and a 0.906 save percentage. Silovs has not started against the Reign in either meeting between the two teams this season.
INSIDE THE SERIES: In Ontario’s blowout win over the Canucks to open the 2022-23 season, TJ Tynan led the way with four points on a goal and three assists. He remains the Reign’s top scorer against Abbotsford after the two meetings, while Alan Quine is right behind him with three points in the series on a goal and two assists. Four active Ontario skaters have recorded two points against the Canucks, including Lias Andersson (1-1=2), Aidan Dudas (1-1=2), Helge Grans (1-1=2) and Taylor Ward (1-1=2). Abbotsford has seen Nils Höglander record three points in the two matchups on two goals and one assist, while Linus Karlsson has totaled two helpers. Spencer Martin won the most recent contest in net for the Canucks with 30 saves.
ALL QUINE ON THE WESTERN FRONT: Alan Quine was the lone Reign skater with multiple points in the team’s most recent outing, a 4-3 loss to Calgary on Sunday. Quine assisted on two of the team’s tallies, including Martin Chromiak’s opening power play goal in the first and Tyler Madden’s late power play strike in the third. It was Quine’s fifth multi-point outing of the season and the fourth time he has picked up two assists in a game. The veteran forward has now recorded 27 points this season with eight goals and 19 helpers in 53 games for Ontario in his first year with the club.
TOP-RATE PENALTY KILLING: 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 50 of their last 56 penalties, a rate of 89%. That run has vaulted them third in the AHL’s season-long penalty killing rankings at 84.1%, ranking just behind league leader Chicago at 85%. The Reign’s home killing percentage of 86.2% is also the third highest in the league, with Ontario allowing just 16 man-advantage goals despite being shorthanded 116 times.
2022-23 Head-to-Head Schedule vs. Abbotsford (all times Pacific):
Fri., Oct. 14 vs. Abbotsford, 8-2 W – Full Recap
Wed., Mar. 1 vs. Abbotsford, 2-3 L – Full Recap
Fri., Mar. 17 at Abbotsford, 7:00 p.m.
Sat., Mar. 18 at Abbotsford, 7:00 p.m.
Fri., Mar. 24 vs. Abbotsford, 7:00 p.m.
Sun., Mar. 26 vs. Abbotsford, 3:00 p.m.
Fri., Apr. 7 at Abbotsford, 7:00 p.m.
Sat., Apr. 8 at Abbotsford, 7:00 p.m.