REIGN PREVIEW 11/28 – Ontario vs. Tucson

WHO: Ontario Reign (11-4-1-1) vs. Tucson Roadrunners (9-6-1-1)
WHEN: Tuesday, November 28 @ 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 open a new week at home looking for their fifth consecutive victory on Tuesday night in their third matchup of the season against the Tucson Roadrunners.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: While the Reign’s lengthy shutout streak was broken early in the first period on Saturday, the club continued its winning ways by defeating San Jose in come-from-behind fashion and keeping hold of second place in the AHL’s Pacific Division. Ontario has gone unbeaten in regulation during each of its last eight games dating back to their first meeting of the season with Tucson on Nov. 8. The Reign have been at their best during the past seven days, outscoring opponents 17-2 combined in a 4-game span to lower their season goals-against average to 2.47 which ranks as the third-best mark in the league. The Roadrunners come into Tuesday’s contest as the sixth-place team in the division but are just four points back of Ontario’s second-place standing. The Reign has multiple players vying for the team’s scoring lead, which is currently held by captain TJ Tynan (2-17=19). Defender Brandt Clarke is a single point behind Tynan with a total of 18 on five goals and 13 helpers, while Alex Turcotte has 17 on four goals and 13 assists. Tynan’s 17 helpers are the most in the AHL, while Clarke’s scoring total leads all league blueliners.

LAST TIME OUT: Samuel Fagemo scored twice to register his fourth consecutive multi-point game and help the Ontario Reign dig themselves out of an early two-goal hole for a 4-2 comeback win over the San Jose Barracuda on Saturday afternoon at Tech CU Arena. Goaltender Erik Portillo made the start between the pipes and stopped a career-high 42 shots for Ontario to earn his fifth victory in six appearances this season. Akil Thomas netted the game-winning tally for the Reign in the third period while Brandt Clarke extended his point streak to nine games and captain TJ Tynan picked up a pair of assists.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: A year ago, Ontario got the better of Tucson, winning five of the eight matchups contested between the two clubs despite being outshot in the series. The Reign outscored the Roadrunners by a 22-19 margin during 2022-23 and produced a 20% success rate on the power play, going 6-for-30 which included a 3-for-10 clip at home in Ontario. Tucson also had 30 power play opportunities in the series, but only converted four of them, giving the Reign an 86.7% penalty kill rate. TJ Tynan led Ontario against the Roadrunners with 10 points on a goal and nine assists a year ago, while Tyler Madden also made an impact for the Reign with six points in the series on three goals and three assists. The teams have each scored a combined five goals against each other in the first two this season, with Ontario earning three of a possible four points on home ice and successfully killing off all five of Tucson’s power plays.

FAGEMO STAYING HOT: Forward Samuel Fagemo has dominated since returning to the Reign lineup prior earlier this month, posting 11 points in his first six games with Ontario on eight goals and three assists. Fagemo has been on the scoresheet in each game, netting a goal in his first appearance on Nov. 12 and scoring twice on three different occasions including Ontario’s most recent outing on Saturday in San Jose. Four of his tallies have come via the power play, while three have ended up as game-winners. The Goteborg, Sweden native started the regular season with the Nashville Predators and earned a goal in four appearances but was placed on waivers and re-claimed by the LA Kings before being assigned to Ontario. In 157 career AHL games with Ontario, Fagemo has 105 points on 68 goals and 37 assists.

CLARKE KEEPS IT CONSISTENT: Rookie defender Brandt Clarke was on the scoresheet for the ninth consecutive game Saturday, recording his fourth multi-point effort of the season by assisting on Samuel Fagemo’s first goal of the second period before adding an empty-net strike to seal the victory late in the third. Clarke, who also had three additional assists earlier in the week during wins over Coachella Valley and San Jose, has recorded points in 11 of his last 12 outings including seven consecutive home games at Toyota Arena. The blueliner has five goals and 13 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 17 games in 2023-24, Clarke has sent 61 shots on net, which ranks second-most in the AHL among defensemen.

SCOUTING THE ROADRUNNERS: Tucson comes into Tuesday’s game after securing three points from a weekend series in Henderson against the Silver Knights with a 3-2 win on Saturday and a 3-2 overtime loss on Sunday afternoon. The Roadrunners are 5-3-1-1 in their last 10 contests. Forward Dylan Guenther leads Tucson in scoring with 16 points in 17 games on six goals and 10 assists. Nathan Smith has also been effective on the offensive end of the ice with 11 points on two goals and nine assists, while rookie Josh Doan has posted seven goals to lead the club. Defender Victor Soderstrom leads the team’s blueliners with eight points. Former Reign netminder Matt Villalta has starred with his new team, playing in 14 of Tucson’s 17 games and allowing a goals-against average of 2.46 while posting a 0.923 save percentage.

PENALTY KILL PICKS IT UP: The Reign are the top penalty killing team while on the road so far this season, allowing just two man-advantage goals from their first nine contests away from Ontario. In total, they’ve produced a 93.3% success rate on the penalty kill by discarding 28 of 30 shorthanded situations and were perfect last week with a combined 9-for-9 mark in their three outings. While they haven’t been as successful at home, the Reign are still in the league’s top-10 teams when it comes to overall penalty killing with an 85.7% rate that ranks tied for seventh.

2023-24 Head-to-Head Schedule vs. Tucson (all times Pacific):
Wed., Nov. 8 vs. Tucson, 3-4 OTL – Full Recap
Fri., Nov. 10 vs. Tucson, 2-1 W – Full Recap
Tue., Nov. 28 vs. Tucson, 7:00 p.m.
Fri., Jan. 26 at Tucson, 6:00 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 27 at Tucson, 6:00 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 16 at Tucson, 6:00 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 17 at Tucson, 6:00 p.m.
Wed., Mar. 20 vs. Tucson, 7:00 p.m.

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