WHO: Ontario Reign (7-4-1) vs. Calgary Wranglers (10-1-1)
WHAT: AHL REGULAR-SEASON GAME #13
WHEN: Friday, November 17 @ 7:00 PM Pacific
WHERE: Toyota Arena – Ontario, CA
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: AHLTV – AUDIO: Reign Radio – TWITTER: @ShafReign & @OntarioReign
TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Ontario Reign are set to open a two-game series with the Calgary Wranglers Friday night at Toyota Arena. While the Reign have played well during the start of their five-game homestand, taking points from the first three games (2-0-1), the Wranglers come into the weekend as the top team in the AHL with a 0.875 points percentage and the longest current winning streak in the league of four games.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The Reign enter Friday’s contest in fourth place in the Pacific Division with 15 points from their first 12 games this season. Calgary has outscored opponents by a combined total of 44-27, the widest positive margin in the league this season (+17). Ontario is coming off back-to-back home wins over Tucson and Colorado last weekend by scores of 2-1 and 4-2, while the Wranglers swept a home series against Bakersfield earlier this week with wins of 6-3 and 4-1 on Tuesday and Wednesday before traveling to Southern California. The Reign have had an evenly balanced team thus far during their first 12 games of the regular season, scoring 36 total goals while allowing 35 which comes out to an average of about three per game on both sides of the puck. Ontario has been led by Charles Hudon and captain TJ Tynan, who have each posted 12 points, a point per game average, this season. Hudon’s seven goals lead the club, while Tynan has a team-high 11 assists. Friday’s contest is the first of eight scheduled matchups (four home, four away) between Ontario and Calgary this season.
LAST TIME OUT: Samuel Fagemo scored in his return and Jaret Anderson-Dolan found the back of the net twice as the Ontario Reign defeated the Colorado Eagles Sunday afternoon by a final score of 4-2 at Toyota Arena. Goaltender David Rittich earned his fourth victory of the season for Ontario with 25 saves while also picking up a primary assist, helping to set up Anderson-Dolan’s first goal with a long stretch pass. Forward Jacob Doty also scored for the second straight game in the win, posting his fourth tally of the year.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: The Reign struggled against the Wranglers last season, who were one of the top teams in the AHL all year and finished with the best record in the league at 51-17-3-1 and 106 points. Calgary won seven of the eight matchups during the 2022-23 season series while doubling Ontario’s goal total (28-14). The Wranglers scored eight times on the man-advantage in the series, while the Reign managed four power play goals from 31 opportunities (12.9%). TJ Tynan (1-5=6) was just behind Lias Andersson (6-1=7) as the Reign’s scoring leader against Calgary a year ago. Wranglers forward Connor Zary had a team-high nine assists and 10 points while appearing in all eight contests of last year’s series. Zary recently made his NHL debut with the Flames earlier this month. Mitch McLain added five points with a goal and four assists and goaltender Dustin Wolf was 7-0-1 against the Reign while playing every minute of action in the series with a save percentage of 0.945.
DO IT WITH DOTY: Forward Jacob Doty has been scoring at the right times for Ontario early on this season and has found the back of the net in two straight games. His most recent strike opened the scoring in the first period against Colorado on Sunday afternoon. Before that on Friday, his tally came during the second period and held up as the game-winner against Tucson. Doty’s first three goals of the year held up as the deciding tally in a Reign victory, with previous game-winners scored in Henderson on Oct. 27, two nights later to beat Abbotsford on Oct. 29 and last Friday’s 2-1 win against the Roadrunners. The rugged forward has already tied his AHL career-high of four goals which came for the Chicago Wolves during the 2015-16 regular season when he also had eight points.
SCOUTING THE WRANGLERS: Forward Ben Jones leads the Wranglers with 12 points in 12 games on three goals and nine assists. Just behind him is forward Emilio Pettersen, who has posted 10 points on three tallies and seven helpers. Adam Klapka has a team-high five goals on the year. Defender Jeremie Poirier paces the blueliners with seven points on a goal and six assists while fellow d-man Brady Lyle has six points on an even three goals and three assists. While goaltender Dustin Wolf has been excellent as always, going 5-1-0 in six games with a 0.924 save percentage, Oscar Dansk has also been great in between the pipes and has a 5-0-1 record with a 1.97 goals-against average and a 0.941 save percentage.
CLARKE KEEPS IT CONSISTENT: Rookie defender Brandt Clarke added an assist in Sunday’s win over Colorado and has now posted points in four consecutive contests and in six of his last seven. The blueliner has three goals and seven assists on the season and became the third Reign skater to reach a double-digit scoring total with his latest assist. Two of Clarke’s goals have come on the man-advantage and he is one of only two players to score multiple times when the Reign have been up a man this year, joining Charles Hudon. The Ottawa, Ont. native leads Ontario in power play scoring with four points (2-2=4). Through 12 games in 2023-24, Clarke has sent 45 shots on net, which ranks as the third-most in the AHL among defensemen. The Kings’ former first-round selection in the 2021 NHL Draft is also among the top 10 of the league’s defensive scorers early on this season.
FAGEMO FLIES HIGH IN RETURN: Forward Samuel Fagemo returned to the Reign on Sunday after being re-claimed off waivers by the LA Kings before being assigned to Ontario. Fagemo started the regular season with the Nashville Predators and netted a goal in four outings with the club but was placed on waivers last Friday. The Kings were able to pick up their former second-round selection the following day on Saturday, and Fagemo suited up for the Reign in a win over Colorado on Sunday, scoring a goal in the third period while putting three shots on net and earning a +2 rating. The attacker reunited with former linemates TJ Tynan and Jaret Anderson-Dolan to form a trio that combined for five points in the contest. In 152 career AHL games with Ontario, Fagemo has 95 points on 61 goals and 34 assists.
2023-24 Head-to-Head Schedule vs. Calgary (all times Pacific):
Fri., Nov. 17 vs. Calgary, 7 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 19 vs. Calgary, 3 p.m.
Thu., Jan. 11 at Calgary, 6 p.m.
Fri., Jan. 12 at Calgary, 6 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 3 vs. Calgary, 6 p.m.
Sun., Mar. 10 at Calgary, 5 p.m.
Mon., Mar. 11 at Calgary, 6 p.m.
Fri., Mar. 22 vs. Calgary, 7 p.m.