WHO: Ontario Reign (9-4-1-1) at San Jose Barracuda (4-6-4)
WHAT: AHL REGULAR-SEASON GAME #16
WHEN: Friday, November 24 @ 7:00 PM Pacific
WHERE: Tech CU Arena – San Jose, CA
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: AHLTV – TWITTER: @ShafReign & @OntarioReign
TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Ontario Reign are in Northern California to begin a two-game series with the San Jose Barracuda on Friday night at Tech CU Arena, the first meeting of eight on the season between the two clubs.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Ontario has earned points from each of its last six games dating back to the beginning of a five-game homestand that began on Nov. 8 and stretched through Nov. 19. The Reign have been at their best during their most recent two games, posting back-to-back shutouts and outscoring opponents 10-0 over the past 120 minutes. Ontario enters this weekend’s series in third place in the Pacific Division with 20 points, while San Jose is in eighth with 12 points from 14 contests this season. The Barracuda are the lone Pacific Division team that Ontario has yet to face during 2023-24. The Reign have multiple players vying for the team’s scoring lead, which is currently held by captain TJ Tynan who has 16 points (1-15=16). Tynan’s 15 helpers are the most in the AHL, while defender Brandt Clarke has 15 points to lead all league blueliners (4-11=15). Alex Turcotte is also on a point-per-game pace with 15 points on three goals and 12 assists.
LAST TIME OUT: The Ontario Reign earned their second straight shutout win Tuesday night, defeating the Coachella Valley Firebirds by a final score of 6-0 on the road at Acrisure Arena. The blank slate was Ontario’s second shutout of Coachella Valley in Palm Desert this season, both of which came with David Rittich in net, who made 24 saves. Reign captain TJ Tynan assisted on four of his team’s goals, while Samuel Fagemo scored twice and added an assist. Defender Brandt Clarke posted two helpers in the victory, which extended his current point streak to seven games.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Ontario and San Jose split last season’s eight-game series, with each side winning four times against the other. The Reign picked up points in five of the contests, finishing with a 3-3-1-1 record against the Barracuda with an even number of goals for and goals against, scoring and allowing 25 in the series. Ontario was 2-2-0 at home inside Toyota Arena and posted a 1-1-1-1 record in four contests during the inaugural season of Tech CU Arena. The Reign scored six times on the man-advantage against the Barracuda last season while San Jose netted four power play goals. The Reign were led by TJ Tynan and Lias Andersson against the Barracuda, who each had seven points in the eight matchups between the two teams. Andersson had two goals and five assists, while Tynan totaled a goal and six helpers. Tyler Madden scored six times in the series to lead Ontario, while Taylor Ward and Jacob Moverare both accounted for six points on two goals and four assists.
FIREY FAGEMO: Forward Samuel Fagemo has made a big impact since returning to the Reign prior to last Sunday’s win over Colorado, posting seven points in his first four games with Ontario this season. Fagemo has been on the scoresheet in all those contests, scoring a goal in his first appearance before adding an assist last Friday and finding the back of the net twice in each of the team’s last two shutout victories. The attacker started the regular season with the Nashville Predators and netted a goal in four outings with the club but was placed on waivers and re-claimed by the LA Kings before being assigned to Ontario. In 155 career AHL games with Ontario, Fagemo has 100 points on 65 goals and 35 assists.
CLARKE KEEPS IT CONSISTENT: Rookie defender Brandt Clarke was on the scoresheet for the seventh consecutive game Tuesday in Coachella Valley, assisting on two tallies during Ontario’s 6-0 win. The blueliner has also been on the scoresheet in nine of his last 10 outings, including seven consecutive home games at Toyota Arena. Clarke has four goals and 11 assists on the season and is just one point behind team scoring leader TJ Tynan. The Ottawa, Ont. native leads Ontario in power play scoring with seven points (2-5=7). Through 14 games in 2023-24, Clarke has sent 56 shots on net, which ranks second-most in the AHL among defensemen.
SCOUTING THE BARRACUDA: San Jose is coming off a home victory over San Diego on Tuesday by a 5-4 score but were swept last weekend by the Colorado Eagles, losing 5-2 Friday before falling 3-2 in overtime the following night on Saturday. The Barracuda were the first team out of the postseason in the pacific last spring, finishing in eighth place with a record of 31-34-2-5 and 69 points. Forward Danil Gushchin, who posted 45 points as a rookie last year, leads the team with 13 points in 13 games this season on four goals and nine assists. Forwards Justin Bailey, Ethan Cardwell and Cole Cassels each have 11 points, while defender Leon Gawanke leads the team’s blueliners with nine points on two goals and seven helpers. Goaltender Georgi Romanov has appeared in eight contests for San Jose while posting a 3-2-2 record and a 3.50 goals-against average.
HELENIUS GETS ON THE BOARD: Forward Samuel Helenius netted his first goal of the season during Ontario’s victory in Palm Desert on Tuesday, putting a rebound home at 2:12 of the third to extend the lead to 4-0. The tally was the fourth of the big center’s career in 88 games with the Reign. Through 15 games this year, Helenius, a second-round selection by the LA Kings in 2021, has posted four points with three assists and a plus-6 rating.
2023-24 Head-to-Head Schedule vs. San Jose (all times Pacific):
Fri., Nov. 24 at San Jose, 7:00 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 25 at San Jose, 2:00 p.m.
Fri., Jan. 5 vs. San Jose, 7:00 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 6 vs. San Jose, 6:00 p.m.
Tue., Jan. 9 at San Jose, 7:00 p.m.
Tue., Feb. 27 vs. San Jose, 7:00 p.m.
Wed., Mar. 27 at San Jose, 7:00 p.m.
Sat., Apr. 6 vs. San Jose, 6:00 p.m.