REIGN PREVIEW 1/16 – Ontario at Abbotsford

WHO: Ontario Reign (20-11-3-1) at Abbotsford Canucks (19-11-2-1)
WHEN: Tuesday, January 16 @ 7:00 PM Pacific
WHERE: Abbotsford Centre – Abbotsford, BC
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: AHLTV – AUDIO: Reign Radio – TWITTER: @ShafReign & @OntarioReign

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Ontario Reign make their second and final trip of the regular season to Abbotsford this week for a two-game series with the Canucks beginning on Tuesday night at the Abbotsford Centre. In three previous meetings this season, Ontario has a 1-2-0 record against Abbotsford, with a win at home in Ontario on Oct. 29 before a pair of defeats north of the border Dec. 20-21.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The Reign come into this week’s series having won two of their last three road games during the current stretch away from the IE with victories in San Jose and Calgary Jan. 9 and 12. Ontario is in third place in the Pacific Division standings with 44 points, two behind second-place Tucson and trailing first-place Calgary by three. The Canucks are three points back of the Reign with two games in hand, currently holding fifth with 41 points. Ontario has been one of the best defensive teams in the AHL, allowing just 2.66 goals per game through its first 35 contests. Despite ranking 22nd defensively with an average of 3.18 goals allowed per night, Abbotsford is third-best on the offensive side of the puck, scoring just below 3.5 goals per game. The Canucks also average the fifth-most shots on goal per contest at 31.48.

LAST TIME OUT: Akil Thomas scored twice and Jacob Ingham stopped 36 of 37 shots to give the Ontario Reign their 20th win of the season with a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Wranglers on Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The win gave Ontario a split of their series in Calgary and improved their record against the first-place Wranglers to 2-1-1 in four contests this season. Ontario also won the special teams battle for the second consecutive evening, going 1-for-3 on the man-advantage while discarding all six of Calgary’s power play opportunities.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: The Reign and Canucks had an even series during 2022-23, with Ontario earning a record of 4-3-1 in the eight contests. Ontario was 3-1-0 inside Toyota Arena and went 1-2-1 in four road contests at the Abbotsford Centre. In three games this season, the Reign have found the back of the net twice on the power play, going 2-for-14 on the man-advantage while allowing four tallies to the Canucks on 14 opportunities. Abbotsford has outshot Ontario by a combined total of 113-89 through the first three matchups. Martin Chromiak has scored in two of the contests and leads the Reign with three points in the series.

KILLER INSTINCT: Forward Akil Thomas is on one of the best runs of his career, scoring a goal in each of Ontario’s three consecutive wins over San Jose before adding a power play assist Thursday and two goals on Friday to give his team a victory in Calgary and extend his season-high five-game point streak. The fourth-year attacker has racked up 10 points from his last seven games, including a season-high three-point effort in the Reign’s 7-1 win at Henderson on Dec. 30. The Toronto native has appeared in each of the Reign’s first 35 games this year and has already surpassed his previous career-high goal total of 11 with 13 goals. Thomas’ 24 points are two back of his best number as a pro when he finished his rookie season in 2021 with 26 in 40 contests. The LA Kings’ former second round pick in 2018 has appeared in 128 AHL contests with the Reign in his pro career.

SCOUTING THE CANUCKS: Abbotsford has earned a split of their most recent two series, going 1-1-0 against both Coachella Valley and Tucson over the past two weeks. Forward Arshdeep Bains leads the team in scoring and was recently named to the AHL’s All-Star Classic event, scoring over a point-per-game average through 31 contests on nine goals and 23 assists. Sheldon Dries and Linus Karlsson are just behind him, scoring 25 and 23 points apiece. Dries has a team-leading 13 goals and 12 assists in 27 games, while Karlsson has posted seven goals and 16 assists before a recent recall by Vancouver. Former Ontario defenseman Christian Wolanin leads the club’s blueliners with 21 points on two goals and 19 helpers. Returning goaltender Arturs Silovs has a 11-6-3 record in 21 appearances along with a 2.98 goals-against average and three shutouts. Rookie Nikita Tolopio has also played in 13 games, posting a 8-5-0 record and a 0.901 save percentage.

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 17 of the 21 games in which they’ve scored first, going 17-1-2-1 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 a 9-0-1 record, and the Reign are perfect when they’ve led after 40 minutes with a 17-0-0 mark.

FAGEMO RECALLED BY LA KINGS: The LA Kings recalled forward Samuel Fagemo from the Reign Tuesday morning, adding him to their roster prior to a contest in Dallas against the Stars. Fagemo, 23, has recorded a team-leading 20 goals and 33 points in 24 games with Ontario this season, including a league-high nine power-play goals. The 6-0, 200-pound forward has collected points in 19 of his 24 games played with the Reign, including six multi-goal performances. Fagemo’s 20 goals sits tied for second-most in scoring across the AHL while his 33 points rank sixth and 1.38 points-per-game average paces all active AHL skaters who have played a minimum of 20 games. The former second round selection by the Kings in the 2019 NHL Draft, Fagemo has registered 127 points (80-47=127) in 175 career AHL games with Ontario. Since his AHL debut on Feb. 6, 2021, Fagemo’s 80 goals are tied for the most in the league during that span. He’s added four points (3-1=4) in 17 career NHL games between the Kings and Predators, including his first career NHL goal on Dec. 3, 2022, against Carolina.

2023-24 Head-to-Head Schedule vs. Abbotsford (all times Pacific):
Sun., Oct. 29 vs. Abbotsford, 5-3 W – Full Recap
Wed., Dec. 20 at Abbotsford, 2-5 L –
Full Recap
Thu., Dec. 21 at Abbotsford, 0-6 L – Full Recap
Tue., Jan. 16 at Abbotsford, 7:00 p.m.
Wed., Jan. 17 at Abbotsford, 7:00 p.m.
Wed., Feb. 21 vs. Abbotsford, 7:00 p.m.
Sun., Mar. 3 vs. Abbotsford, 3:00 p.m.
Wed., Mar. 6 vs. Abbotsford, 7:00 p.m.

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