WHO: Ontario Reign (18-10-3-1) at San Jose Barracuda (11-15-5-0)
WHAT: AHL REGULAR-SEASON GAME #33
WHEN: Tuesday, January 9 @ 7:00 PM Pacific
WHERE: Tech CU Arena – San Jose, CA
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: AHLTV – AUDIO: Reign Radio – TWITTER: @ShafReign & @OntarioReign
TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Ontario Reign are set to complete their three-game series with the San Jose Barracuda on Tuesday night at Tech CU Arena and at the same time begin the longest road trip of the regular season. After posting back-to-back wins in Ontario on Friday and Saturday, the Reign are looking for a series sweep of San Jose, which would also be their fifth straight victory over the Barracuda this season.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Ontario held San Jose’s top-10 ranked offense off the scoreboard on Friday night with a shutout performance by Erik Portillo. The Barracuda were also scoreless after 40 minutes on Saturday but broke out in the third to force the game into overtime with four goals. SJ is now 11th in the AHL, averaging 3.26 goals per game this season. Ontario’s standout defense on the other hand is now sixth in the league, allowing an average of just 2.75 goals per night. The Reign are in the middle of a tightly contested top half of the Pacific Division with 40 points, currently holding third place while trailing second-place Tucson by just two points. San Jose has struggled through the first half of the year, earning 27 points from 31 games which has them in ninth out of the 10 teams in the division.
LAST TIME OUT: Samuel Fagemo registered his second-career hat trick with a game-winning goal in overtime to help the Ontario Reign hold off a late charge from the San Jose Barracuda and secure a 5-4 victory on Saturday night at Toyota Arena. The win gave Ontario four points from their weekend series against San Jose. Fagemo also added an assist on a power play goal by Akil Thomas and finished with a career-best four-point night. Charles Hudon and Jacob Moverare also picked up two assists apiece, while goaltender Jacob Ingham recorded the win with 21 saves.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: The Reign have wins in all four of the matchups between them and the Barracuda so far this season, including 5-4 and 2-0 victories last weekend in the first games held in Ontario between the teams. Before that, the Reign swept the first two meetings in San Jose with 3-0 and 4-2 wins at Tech CU Arena during Thanksgiving Weekend on Nov. 24-25. The Reign picked up points in five of their contests against San Jose last season, finishing with a 3-3-1-1 record against the Barracuda and 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. Ontario was led by TJ Tynan, who had seven points in the eight matchups between the two teams. 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.
FAGEMO FEELING TRICKY: With a hat trick and four total points Saturday, forward Samuel Fagemo continued his dominance for Ontario this season. Fagemo has been scoring at the best rate of his pro career this year, posting 28 points in 21 games with Ontario on 16 goals and 12 assists. He’s been on the scoresheet in 17 of his 21 AHL contests, scoring multiple goals on four different occasions and contributing eight multi-point games. The fourth-year forward leads the team in goal scoring and is fourth in the AHL, in addition to ranking second in the league with seven power play goals. He’s just four points away from the scoring total he had during 2022-23 when he played 56 contests with the Reign. A native of Goteborg, Sweden, Fagemo 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 on Nov. 11 before being assigned to Ontario. In 172 career AHL games with Ontario, Fagemo has 122 points on 76 goals and 46 assists.
SCOUTING THE BARRACUDA: San Jose came into last weekend’s series in Ontario after defeating Tucson at home Wednesday night by a 6-4 score and splitting a home-and-home series with Bakersfield the week prior. The Barracuda were the first team out of the postseason in the Pacific last spring with an eighth-place finish and haven’t been able to improve their fortunes thus far this season as they currently sit in ninth place with 27 points. Forward Danil Gushchin, who posted 45 points as a rookie last year, leads the team this season with 28 points in 30 games on 11 goals and 17 assists. Cole Cassels has pitched in with 23 points on four goals and 19 assists, while Nathan Todd has 22 points on seven goals and 15 helpers. Defender Leon Gawanke leads the team’s blueliners with 25 points on seven goals and 18 assists. Goaltender Magnus Chrona has led the way in net with 14 appearances and holds a 0.893 save percentage, while Eetu Makiniemi has seen action in nine contests and has a 4-4-0 record with one shutout.
STAYING THE COURSE: The Reign have played well with leads this season, posting lopsided winning records in all games where they’ve had an advantage. Ontario has won 15 of the 19 games in which they’ve scored first, going 15-1-2-1 to secure a point in all but one contest when they’ve had the initial lead. When they’ve gone into the first intermission with a lead on the scoreboard, Ontario has an 8-0-1 record, and the Reign are perfect when they’ve led after 40 minutes with a 15-0-0 mark.
MAKING THE MO’ST OF IT: Defenseman Jacob Moverare has been a welcome addition to the lineup for the Reign since returning from a call-up to the LA Kings that lasted for most of December. Since he rejoined Ontario’s lineup on Dec. 28, the blueliner has posted assists in four of his five appearances, totaling six helpers and a plus-9 rating with nine shots on goal. During his recall, moverare saw time in five contests with the Kings, his first NHL games since the 2022-23 campaign. Overall with the Reign this season, the Ostersund, Sweden native has 11 assists in 21 appearances after playing 62 games a year ago and scoring 26 points on four goals and 22 assists.
2023-24 Head-to-Head Schedule vs. San Jose (all times Pacific):
Fri., Nov. 24 at San Jose, 3-0 W – Full Recap
Sat., Nov. 25 at San Jose, 4-2 W – Full Recap
Fri., Jan. 5 vs. San Jose, 2-0 W – Full Recap
Sat., Jan. 6 vs. San Jose, 5-4 W (OT) – Full Recap
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.