The Ontario Reign (34-32-5-2) closed out the 2022-23 regular season with a losing effort Saturday night, falling to the Henderson Silver Knights (29-38-0-5) by a score of 4-1 at the Dollar Loan Center.
Lias Andersson netted the lone goal for Ontario in the loss, completing his season with a team-high 31 tallies. The strike was assisted by Jordan Spence and TJ Tynan, who closed the regular season on a six-game point streak.
The Reign finished the campaign in sixth place in the Pacific Division and will face the Colorado Eagles in the opening round of the Calder Cup Playoffs beginning next week.
For the second straight night, Henderson got on the board first in the opening period to take an early lead. Saturday it was Sakari Manninen who scored just 15 seconds after the puck dropped to give the Silver Knights a 1-0 advantage.
Ontario tied the game up at 1-1 when Andersson found the back of the net on the power play early in the second. Earlier in the man-advantage, Andersson and the Reign thought they had tied the contest after a deflection in front sent the puck into the net, but after video review the apparent goal was disallowed. Seconds later, however, Andersson deflected a shot from the point from Spence by goaltender Jiri Patera to even the score.
In addition to his six-game point streak that dates back to the beginning of April, Tynan closed the season with points in seven straight road contests. The team’s captain played in all 72 regular season games and totaled 81 points, which is the third-most in the AHL.
The Silver Knights re-took the lead for good midway through the second when Connor Corcoran redirected a pass past Matt Villalta to make it 2-1 at 10:21.
Henderson tacked on two more goals in the third to secure its 29th victory of 2022-23. Ivan Morozov got credit for a strike early in the final period at 1:14 which was deflected twice on its way into the net. Three minutes later, Brendan Brisson netted the fourth goal of the game for the Silver Knights at 4:10.
Ontario had a 37-31 shots-on-goal edge in the contest and also netted the lone goal of the night on special teams, finishing 1-for-2 on the power play while holding Henderson to an 0-for-3 mark.
Patera finished with 36 saves to earn the win for the Silver Knights, while Villalta stopped 27 shots for Ontario in a losing effort.
More details about the Reign’s opening round best-of-3 playoff series with the Colorado Eagles will be available soon.