Tyler Madden scored at 2:17 of overtime on Sunday to give the Ontario Reign (33-26-4-1) a 3-2 win and a sweep of a their two-game series with the Abbotsford Canucks (35-23-3-4) this weekend at Toyota Arena.
Lias Andersson and Samuel Fagemo both had multi-point efforts, each posting a goal and an assist in the victory for Ontario, while Matt Villalta picked up the win in net with 27 saves.
The Canucks got on the board first at 10:14 of the opening period when Marc Gatcomb crashed the front of Ontario’s net and pushed a rebound past Villalta to give Abbotsford a 1-0 lead.
Ontario tied the game back up on the power play less than four minutes later at 13:45 when Andersson blasted a shot past Abbotsford goaltender Spencer Martin and up under the crossbar. Assists on the goal went to Fagemo and Jacob Moverare.
The game remained deadlocked until 8:16 of the middle period when Abbotsford’s Arshdeep Bains batted a rebound into the back of the net to put the visitors back on top at 2-1.
Ontario entered the third trailing by a goal but evened the game back up at 2-2 with another power play tally, this time by Fagemo. Coming off a cross-ice feed by Andersson, Fagemo one-timed the puck past Martin to net his second goal in as many games and 22nd of the season at 8:46 of the period. Moverare also picked up an assist on the play, his second helper of the game.
Neither club could break the tie in the final 11 minutes of regulation and the game headed for overtime. It was the first of the six meetings in the season series between the teams to go into an extra session.
Alex Turcotte got the puck to Madden for the winner, beating his man on the left wing before feeding a centering pass to the net. Madden’s initial redirect was kept out, but the puck immediately glanced back to the net and past Martin to give the Reign the win. Madden’s 18th goal of the year also came with a second assist to Tobias Bjornfot, who extended his season-long point streak to four games.
With the victory, Ontario reduced their magic number to clinch a spot in the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs to five points. The Reign currently hold fifth place in the Pacific Division standings.
Abbotsford outshot the Reign 31-26 in the contest, with Martin stopping 23 of Ontario’s attempts in a losing effort. The Reign finished 2-for-4 on the power play in the win and also held the Canucks off the board on the man-advantage in four opportunities.
On the team’s streakiness
It can be frustrating. It just shows that when you do a lot of things right, especially defensively, you’re going to get rewarded at some point. In the bad losing streak, we didn’t do it at all. That’s why we lost, not just by one or two goals, but sometimes more than four. Now it seems like we’ve got a better rhythm and I can tell you its much more fun when you’re playing that way.
On breaking through on the power play
You’ve got to give the other guys credit because they have a good PK. I think they kept us to the outside and what changed for us was our mentality. We wanted to shoot a little bit more and we believe that’s how you break it. We didn’t always do it. If you look at the two goals we scored, they came from shots where it would be hard to do it again. Obviously, it was a big goal to tie it up, but overall we just stayed calm like the other night. Even in the third period, there was no panic. We had a good feeling to tie this thing up and win the game.
On Alex Turcotte’s three games since returning
He looks good. He feels like he’s playing his game over and over again. He doesn’t take any shifts off. He’s a grinder and he just has to stick with it. I think that’s the biggest challenge that he has to stick with. You can’t get beat or get frustrated, and he shouldn’t because he’s played great hockey and he’s a great hockey player. That’s something I think he’s been getting better and better at every week and every game. Like I said the other night, he’s been a plus for our team and we’ve definitely jumped on his wagon. That’s for sure.
On Cole Krygier’s professional début
He was pretty good overall. You can tell that he has a big body and that he can skate. I think he can see the ice very well too. I think he was nervous, you know, he made a few mistakes. It’s almost always like that. It was his first game and I give him credit. We expect him to get better every day. We liked what we saw today and that’s why we put him out there in overtime.
The Reign continue their homestand on Wednesday night when they host the Colorado Eagles at Toyota Arena beginning at 7 p.m.