REIGN PREVIEW – Ontario at Abbotsford, 3/18

WHO: Ontario Reign (30-24-4-1) at Abbotsford Canucks (34-21-2-4)
WHEN: Saturday, March 18 @ 7:00 PM Pacific
WHERE: Abbotsford Centre – Abbotsford, BC
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: AHLTV – TWITTER: @ShafReign & @OntarioReign

The Ontario Reign look to rebound Saturday for the back half of their weekend series in Abbotsford against the Canucks after suffering a 4-0 loss Friday. Ontario and Abbotsford still have five scheduled meetings remaining on the regular season schedule, all of which will be played in the next 22 days. Prior to Friday’s loss, the two clubs had 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: Abbotsford’s hot play as of late has themselves in the driver’s seat for home ice during next month’s Calder Cup Playoffs, with 74 points in the standings which ranks third overall and nine ahead of Ontario in fifth. The Reign remain three points ahead of sixth-place Bakersfield, but are six points behind Colorado for fourth. The Canucks rank ninth in the AHL on offense, scoring 3.30 goals per game, while Ontario comes into Saturday’s matchup as the eighth-best defensive team in the league, allowing just 2.92 goals per game. The Reign’s special teams have both been some of the AHL’s best this season, including an 84.1% penalty kill that’s third in the league and a power play conversion rate of 22.4% which is sixth-highest.

LAST TIME OUT: Spencer Martin turned aside all 22 shots he faced Friday night in a 4-0 win for the Abbotsford Canucks over the Ontario Reign in the opener of a two-game series at the Abbotsford Centre. The Canucks had four different goal scorers in their victory including Danila Klimovich, Marc Gatcomb, Vincent Arseneau and Nils Höglander.

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 has another opportunity to reach that mark on Saturday 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 122 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 61 games. Justin Dowling is just behind him with 42 points on 11 goals and 31 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 any of the three meetings between the two teams this season.

INSIDE THE SERIES: TJ Tynan led the way with four points on a goal and three assists in Ontario’s blowout win over the Canucks to open the 2022-23 season. He remains the Reign’s top scorer against Abbotsford after three games, 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 four points in the three matchups on three goals and one assist, while Justin Dowling and Marc Gatcomb have each posted a goal and an assist and Linus Karlsson has totaled two helpers. Spencer Martin has won both of his starts in net for the Canucks in the series, making 30 saves in each victory.

DUDAS MAKING A DIFFERENCE: After 59 games in his third professional season, Aidan Dudas has already set a new career-high with 26 points. His next goal for Ontario will also give him a new high bar, as the Parry Sound, Ontario native has tied his previous best from last season with 10. Dudas has also put over 100 shots on goal this season, which is the most he’s had in his career and is seventh-most on the Reign roster. In 163 career AHL games which have all been played with the Reign, Dudas has 62 points on 26 goals and 36 assists with three shorthanded goals and four game-winning tallies.

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 84.8%. The Reign’s home killing percentage of 86.2% is also second-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, 0-4 L – Full Recap
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.


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