REIGN PREVIEW 3/16 – Ontario at Bakersfield

WHO: Ontario Reign (31-20-3-4) at Bakersfield Condors (31-21-2-2)
WHEN: Saturday, March 16 @ 7:00 PM Pacific
WHERE: Mechanics Bank Arena – Bakersfield, CA
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: AHLTV – AUDIO: Reign Radio TWITTER: @ShafReign & @OntarioReign

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Ontario Reign travel to Bakersfield for a Saturday night matchup against the Condors at Mechanics Bank Arena. Including tonight, the Reign still have four games on the schedule to be decided against Bakersfield, the most against any of their remaining opponents. The teams have split their first four matchups 2-2 this season, with the road team winning each of the contests.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Ontario is one of the hottest teams in the Pacific Division, securing points from 10 of their last 11 outings with an 8-0-0-2 record which has them in fourth place (69 points). Although they dropped their most recent matchup in Abbotsford by a 4-1 score on Wednesday, Bakersfield has won six of their last 10 and moved into a tie for fifth place with 66 points, three back of the Reign, with two games in hand. Ontario remains one point behind Colorado (70 points) for third and two back of second-place Tucson (71 points). The Reign’s hot play over the last 11 games has seem them outscore opponents by a combined total of 39-20, allowing an average of just 1.8 goals per contest. Ontario now ranks fourth on the defensive side of the puck, allowing 2.69 goals per game. Bakersfield is one of the better defensive teams in the league as well, allowing 2.8 goals per game which is eighth-best in the AHL. The two clubs have almost identical power play percentages this season, with Ontario converting on 20.7% of their chances, while the Condors have scored on 20.6% of their opportunities.

LAST TIME OUT: Although they tied the game late to force overtime, the Ontario Reign fell to the Coachella Valley Firebirds in a shootout Friday night by a final score of 4-3. In picking up a point in the standings, the Reign got goals from Samuel Fagemo and Martin Chromiak in the second period before captain TJ Tynan evened the game at 3-3 with 1:13 left on the third period clock.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: Ontario had a back-and-forth series with the Condors last season as well, managed a 4-3-1 record against the Condors, including a 3-1-0 mark at Toyota Arena. The Reign 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%. The Condors have outscored Ontario 15-11 through the first four meetings of 2023-24, while the Reign hold an edge in shots on goal, 112-98. Bakersfield has scored five times on 18 power play chances in the four games this season, while Ontario has three man-advantage tallies on 16 opportunities. 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 four 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.

FAGEMO’S GOAL SCORING CONTINUES: Samuel Fagemo, the AHL’s reigning Player of the Week, scored for the fourth time in his last five games on Friday against Coachella Valley, his eighth goal during the month of March. In doing so, he ran his current point streak to a team-high five straight games. Fagemo continues to lead the league with 36 tallies this season in just 40 contests. The attacker now has 11 multi-goal games during 2023-24 and is also at the top of the league’s leaders with 16 power play goals, the most by any Ontario skater in team history. He also has eight game-winning goals on the year, which are tied for the most of any AHL player. Fagemo has totaled a career-high 53 points this season which ranks fifth-most in the AHL. In his four seasons with the Reign, Fagemo has 147 points in 191 contests on 95 goals and 52 assists.

SCOUTING THE CONDORS: Bakersfield’s scoring leader this season is a familiar face for the Condors, Seth Griffith, who has 48 points in 52 games during his fourth season with the Condors on 12 goals and 36 assists. Lane Pederson has stepped up and contributed with 43 points in 51 games on 18 goals and 25 helpers, while Raphael Lavoie has a team-high 24 goals and is one point away from reaching 40 on the year. Defenseman Ben Gleason is leading the Condors in scoring from the blue line with 26 points in 46 games on nine goals and 17 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 27 games for the Condors between the pipes, going 15-11-0 with a 2.70 goals-against and a 0.917 save percentage. The Condors also have Olivier Rodridgue who has also earned 27 appearances and has almost identical numbers to Campbell with a 2.71 GAA and a 0.918 save percentage.

NOT SO TYPICAL TYNAN: Reign captain TJ Tynan added a goal and an assist in Friday’s shootout loss to the Firebirds and now has points in eight of his last 10 games, including three goals since the start of March. Tynan’s 45 total assists on the season lead all AHL skaters, while his 53 points are tied with teammate Samuel Fagemo for the team lead and rank fifth-best in the league. While the Orland Park, Ill. native has certainly been a big part of Ontario’s top 5 ranked power play, Tynan has accounted for more even-strength scoring this season than in his first two years with the Reign. Only 16 of his 53 points have come via the man-advantage, with the center scoring two goals and 14 assists. In his first two seasons with Ontario Tynan scored half of his points via the power play, posting 49 of his team record 98 points on the man-advantage during 2021-22 and 40 of his 81 came when the team was up a man during 2022-23.

HUDON LENDS A HELPING HAND: Forward Charles Hudon has hit his stride during the last month, racking up 16 points from his previous 14 games on four goals and 12 assists. The Alma, Que. native posted helpers on two of Ontario’s goals in Sunday’s win in Calgary, earning a second assist on Samuel Fagemo’s opening power play goal as well as the primary assist on Taylor Ward’s second period strike. He followed that up with a goal and an assist on Monday, helping the Reign complete a sweep of the Wranglers. Hudon also has three other multi-point games during his recent hot stretch and helped Ontario tie Friday night’s game against Coachella Valley in the closing seconds by completing a difficult pass to TJ Tynan who scored to send the game to overtime. Overall, Hudon has totaled 49 points from 53 games this season on 19 goals and 30 assists. His 30 helpers are the second-most during his seven-season AHL career, trailing only his rookie campaign when he racked up 38 with the Hamilton Bulldogs.

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, 2-6 L – Full Recap
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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