REIGN PREVIEW 1/21 – Ontario vs. Bakersfield

WHO: Ontario Reign (21-13-3-1) vs. Bakersfield Condors (17-11-1-2)
WHEN: Sunday, January 21 @ 3:00 PM Pacific
WHERE: Toyota Arena – Ontario, CA
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: AHLTV – AUDIO: Reign Radio – TWITTER: @ShafReign & @OntarioReign

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Ontario Reign will complete a week of four games in six days on Sunday afternoon when they host the Bakersfield Condors at Toyota Arena. The contest will be the fourth overall meeting between the two California-based clubs and the second meeting hosted in Ontario. The Reign have won two of its first three battles against the Condors during 2023-24 with a pair of one-goal wins.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Coming off their longest road trip of the season, the Reign were unable to secure any points from their most recent outing on Saturday against Coachella Valley. Ontario went 3-2-0 overall on their five-game swing through three different cities in nine days, including four straight one-goal results during split series in both Calgary and Abbotsford. The Reign currently hold fourth place in the Pacific Division standings with 46 points, while Bakersfield earned a win over Calgary on Saturday and sits in eighth place in the division with 37 points. The Condors have only played 31 games thus far this season, six less than Ontario. The teams are both ranked in the top 10 in the league defensively, with the Reign third-best while surrendering just 2.68 goals per game and the Condors eighth at 2.81 tallies per night.

LAST TIME OUT: Despite taking a 2-0 lead in the first period, the Ontario Reign weren’t able to hold on, surrendering four straight goals in a 4-2 loss to the Coachella Valley Firebirds at Toyota Arena on Saturday night. Tyler Madden and Jacob Moverare found the back of the net for the Reign in a losing effort, while goaltender Erik Portillo made the start in between the pipes and finished with 22 saves.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: Ontario had a back-and-forth series with the Condors last season, playing well at times but also going through struggles while dealing with Bakersfield’s style of play. In eight contests during 2022-23, the Reign managed a 4-3-1 record against the Condors, including a 3-1-0 mark at Toyota Arena. Ontario outscored Bakersfield by a slim 23-21 margin in last season’s series and produced a solid effort on the penalty kill by discarding 24 of the Condors’ 27 power play chances for a rate of 88.9%. Captain TJ Tynan was Ontario’s leading scorer against the Condors last season, posting eight points in the eight-game series on a goal and seven assists. Through three games this year, Tynan is tied for the team scoring lead against Bakersfield with three points on a goal and two assists, while Charles Hudon has three goals and Tyler Madden has two goals and an assist.

KILLER INSTINCT: Forward Akil Thomas has continued to be one of Ontario’s best forwards over the past few weeks. Although his recent season-high point streak of six games ended Wednesday night when he was held off the scoresheet, Thomas has still racked up eight points on five goals and three assists in his last eight outings. The forward came within a game of his career-high points streak of seven straight which he achieved during his rookie season. With 25 points in 38 games this year, the Toronto native is just one point shy of his single-season career-high of 26 which was also set during 40 contests in his rookie year. Thomas had a goal in each of Ontario’s three consecutive wins over San Jose to begin 2024 before adding a power play assist and two goals in Calgary last week and another helper in Tuesday’s win at Abbotsford. He has appeared in each of the Reign’s first 38 games this year and his 13 goals have already surpassed his previous career-high total of 11. The LA Kings’ former second-round pick in 2018 has appeared in 131 AHL contests with the Reign in his pro career.

SCOUTING THE CONDORS: Bakersfield has been led by a pair of forwards who have each posted 24 points on six goals and 18 assists, with Drake Caggiula playing in just 22 games while Seth Griffith has done it in 27 contests. Griffith is back for year four in Bakersfield. The attacker finished with 80 points in 2021-22 and had 60 last year with 17 goals and 43 assists while playing in all 72 of the club’s regular season games. Raphael Lavoie has a team-high 11 goals in his first 25 contests, while Lane Pederson has posted nine goals and 10 assists in 19 games. Defenseman Ben Gleason is leading the Condors in scoring from the blue line with 15 points in 21 games on eight goals and seven assists. Since their NHL affiliate, the Edmonton Oilers, shook things up and loaned former Reign netminder Jack Campbell to Bakersfield, the NHL veteran has appeared in 13 games for the Condors between the pipes, going 7-6-0.

TOP NOTCH PENALTY KILL: The Reign allowed just their seventh power play goal on the road this season during Wednesday night’s loss in Abbotsford, which is tied with Toronto for the lowest number in the league on the road this year. Ontario’s road PK is the stingiest in the AHL, discarding 90% of opponents’ opportunities. Overall, the Reign rank fifth in the league when down a man, killing 84.7% of the 131 times they’ve been shorthanded.

INGHAM EARNING MORE TRUST: Goaltender Jacob Ingham has showcased himself at both the AHL and ECHL levels this season, earning a combined record of 14-3-0 in 19 appearances between the two affiliates. Ingham began his year with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits and racked up 11 wins in 14 contests with a goals-against average of 2.64 and a 0.920 save percentage in just shy of 800 minutes. He was then recalled by the Reign in December, posting even better numbers through his first five outings with a 1.99 goals-against and a 0.940 save percentage. The netminder won three straight starts with Ontario after his recall before suffering his first loss on Wednesday in Abbotsford despite not allowing a goal during the first 40 minutes and finishing with 29 saves on 31 shots. Ingham’s best performance to date was last week in a 2-1 win at Calgary which featured 36 saves on 37 shots to take down the division leader.

2023-24 Head-to-Head Schedule vs. Bakersfield (all times Pacific):
Sat., Oct. 21 at Bakersfield, 3-2 W – Full Recap
Fri., Dec. 8 vs. Bakersfield, 4-6 L –
Full Recap
Sat., Dec. 9 at Bakersfield, 2-1 W – Full Recap
Sun., Jan. 21 vs. Bakersfield, 3:00 p.m.
Sat., Mar. 16 at Bakersfield, 7:00 p.m.
Sun., Mar. 24 vs. Bakersfield, 3:00 p.m.
Sat., Mar. 30 vs. Bakersfield, 6:00 p.m.
Wed., Apr. 17 at Bakersfield, 6:30 p.m.

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