REIGN PREVIEW 3/22 – Ontario vs. Calgary

WHO: Ontario Reign (32-21-3-4) vs. Calgary Wranglers (31-22-4-3)
WHEN: Friday, March 22 @ 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 play their second home contest of the week Friday night when they host the Calgary Wranglers at Toyota Arena to complete the season series between the two Pacific Division clubs. The Wranglers will be looking to avenge a recent sweep that Ontario earned just 12 days ago in Calgary with four-goal wins on consecutive days by scores of 5-1 and 6-2.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The final push for positioning in the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs is in full swing with just 12 games remaining for Ontario. The Reign are currently holding fourth place in the Pacific Division with 71 points, which has them two spots ahead of Calgary in both positioning (sixth) and points (69). The Wranglers have posted a win and a shootout loss to keep themselves in striking distance of home ice for the opening round of the postseason. The Reign’s hot play over the last 13 games has seem them outscore opponents by a combined total of 43-25, allowing an average of less than two goals per contest. Ontario now ranks fourth on the defensive side of the puck, giving up just 2.68 goals per game on the year. Calgary is just outside of the top 10 defenses in the league, ranking 11th with 2.88 goals allowed per contest.

LAST TIME OUT: A goal by Akil Thomas with less than four minutes remaining broke a 1-1 deadlock and sent the Ontario Reign past the Tucson Roadrunners Wednesday night at Toyota Arena. After empty-net goals by Taylor Ward and Tyler Madden, the Reign finished with a 4-1 victory. Goaltender Aaron Dell stopped 32 shots to remain unbeaten in regulation during his last six starts and pick up the victory, while Ward had a game-high three points (1-2=3), Thomas finished with two (1-1=2) and captain TJ Tynan earned two assists.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: The Reign have secured points from five of their seven meetings with Calgary during 2023-24 by going 4-2-0-1 and can take the season series with a win in Friday night’s matchup. Ontario managed to claim three points from its first series of the year against Calgary in November and then split with the Wranglers north of the border in January. Calgary earned a win last month on Feb. 3 in Ontario by a 3-1 score, but the Reign returned to Calgary last week and claimed their first-ever sweep inside the Scotiabank Saddledome. Ontario has outscored the Wranglers 24-15 in this season’s series and have six power plays goals on 26 opportunities (23.1%) while killing off 25 of Calgary’s 29 chances (86.2%). Samuel Fagemo leads Ontario with nine points in the series on seven goals and two assists, while Akil Thomas (3-2=5) and Taylor Ward (2-3=5) have each earned five points apiece. Adam Klapka, who scored twice for Calgary in the most recent meeting, leads the Wranglers against the Reign with six points (2-4=6).

FAGEMO’S GOAL SCORING CONTINUES: Samuel Fagemo kept pace for the league’s goal-scoring lead by netting his 37th of the season on Wednesday night against Tucson and now has nine goals in nine games during the month, which leads all AHL skaters. Fagemo’s overall goal total remains tied for the league lead along with Springfield’s Adam Gaudette, who has played in 13 more games than the Reign sniper. Now in his fourth season with the Reign, Fagemo has 11 multi-goal games during 2023-24 and is also at the top of the league’s power play scoring leaders with 16 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 54 points this season which ranks tied for seventh-most in the AHL. In his four campaigns with the Reign, Fagemo has 148 points in 193 contests on 96 goals and 52 assists.

SCOUTING THE WRANGLERS: Rookie Forward Matt Coronado is Calgary’s top scorer this season, but the winger is currently in the NHL with the Flames after scoring 42 points in 40 AHL contests on 15 goals and 27 assists. Forward Ben Jones is second with 39 points and has a team-leading 19 goals while playing in all 60 of the club’s contests this year. Adam Klapka has also made an impact on the offensive end, scoring 37 points on 18 goals and 19 assists. Defender Jonathan Aspirot paces the blueliners with 30 points on six goals and 24 assists. Following the series between the Reign and Wranglers last week, goaltender Dustin Wolf was recalled to Calgary after appearing in 35 AHL contests and earning a 20-11-3 record with a 0.923 save percentage. In his absence, Calgary has Oscar Dansk who has played in 22 games this season along with Connor Murphy who has a 0.927 save percentage in seven outings.

NOT SO TYPICAL TYNAN: Reign captain TJ Tynan added two more assists to his league-leading total in Wednesday’s win and now has points in nine of his last 12 games. Tynan’s 47 helpers on the year have him just three away from the fourth 50-assist campaign of his career. His 55 points are tied for the fifth-most in the AHL. While the Orland Park, Ill. native has certainly been a big part of Ontario’s successful 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 55 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.

DELL HEATING UP: Veteran netminder Aaron Dell is unbeaten in regulation for the Reign in his last six starts, going 5-0-1 with a 1.64 goals-against average and a 0.943 save percentage. The goalkeeper secured his first win of the season against Tucson on Wednesday, stopping 32 of 33 shots on goal. Dell, 34, has previously appeared in 130 NHL games during his career in parts of eight seasons with the San Jose Sharks, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres. In 142 career AHL contests, Dell has produced a 2.63 goals-against average and a 0.914 save percentage.

2023-24 Head-to-Head Schedule vs. Calgary (all times Pacific):
Fri., Nov. 17 vs. Calgary, 4-5 L (SO) – Full Recap
Sun., Nov. 19 vs. Calgary, 4-0 W – Full Recap
Thu., Jan. 11 at Calgary, 2-3 L – Full Recap
Fri., Jan. 12 at Calgary, 2-1 W – Full Recap
Sat., Feb. 3 vs. Calgary, 1-3 L – Full Recap
Sun., Mar. 10 at Calgary, 5-1 W – Full Recap
Mon., Mar. 11 at Calgary, 6-2 W – Full Recap
Fri., Mar. 22 vs. Calgary, 7 p.m.

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