4/3 REIGN FINAL – Reign 5, Silver Knights 4 (OT) – Sturm

Samuel Fagemo scored twice in his return to the lineup, including the overtime winner, to give the Ontario Reign (37-21-3-4) their sixth straight victory by a 5-4 score over the Henderson Silver Knights (26-32-3-5) on Wednesday night at Lee’s Family Forum.

With his two tallies that bookended Ontario’s scoring, Fagemo leaped back into the AHL’s top spot this season with 39 goals on the year. Reign captain TJ Tynan had assists on both of Fagemo’s goals as part of a three-assist night which has him as the league’s leader with 51 helpers. The win gave Ontario sole possession of second place in the AHL’s Pacific Division with 81 points.


The Silver Knights got out to an early lead, scoring goals on their first two offensive chances in Ontario’s end. First, Jake Bischoff found the back of the net 1:12 into the game on a shot from the left point that got through goaltender Aaron Dell, who was screened on the play. Then less than a minute later at 2:06, Geertsen pushed Henderson’s lead to 2-0 with a shot from the right circle.

Not long after surrendering those back-to-back goals, Ontario got on the board on their first shot of the game at 3:04, a quick response from Fagemo that came on a low backhand shot. Brandt Clarke sent the puck to an open Fagemo deep in the zone for the first assist, while Tynan recorded the second helper on the play.

With less than two minutes remaining in the opening period, Hayden Hodgson tied the game up at 2-2, netting his fifth goal of the season on a one-handed shot that deflected in off a Henderson skater at 18:18.

The lone strike of the middle period was scored by Ontario’s Andre Lee, who put the Reign in front for the first time at 3-2 with a power play tally from the front of the net. Lee’s second goal in as many games and sixth of the season was redirected in off a Silver Knights player. Tynan got the puck to Lee and picked up the first assist, his 50th of the season, while Tyler Madden recorded the second and extended his season-high point streak to six games.

Henderson didn’t go quietly in the third, however. Brendan Brisson wristed the puck off the post and in just 3:05 into the period to tie the game at 3-3.

Ontario then went back in front 4-3 on a goal by Colton Young, who buried a rebound off a shot by Kim Nousiainen at 12:57. Wyatte Wylie also got himself on the scoresheet with the second assist on the play.

But a Jonas Rondbjerg goal for Henderson on a shorthanded breakaway evened the game up again at 4-4 just 1:02 later at 13:59.

The score remained deadlocked until 3:16 of overtime when Fagemo blasted a shot by goaltender Jesper Vikman off a 2-on-1 pass by Tynan for his league-leading 39th goal of the year. The winning tally came just seconds after Brisson had a shot go off the post behind Dell at the other end of the ice for the Silver Knights.

Ontario is now 4-1-1-1 in seven meetings against Henderson this season, with the final matchup of the year coming back at Lee’s Family Forum in Nevada next weekend on April 13.

The Reign had the only power play goal of the game and finished 1-for-3 on the man-advantage, while the Silver Knights ended at 0-for-2. Dell stopped 29 shots to pick up the victory for Ontario, while Vikman suffered the loss, also with 29 saves.

Postgame thoughts from Sturm are below.

Marco Sturm
On the play of Fagemo in his return, scoring twice and the OT game-winner
It was nice to have him back. I thought he had a really good jump right from the start. He was ready. He was very excited to be back in the lineup, to be around the guys and play hockey again. He was by far our best player and it was nice to see him on the scoresheet twice as well.

On Andre Lee, who has scored twice since returning from a lengthy injury absence
You can’t even tell that he missed such a long time. He fits right in, he’s been great the last few games and I try to reward guys. And for me the reward for him is putting him on the power play on the first at the netfront. Because he played really well the last few games so I like where he is right now. There’s s a lot of good things in him and that’s why I’m putting him in a lot of important situations.

On the way Colton Young and the fourth line played in the game
I really liked our fourth line today. They were buzzing all game. They were really good forechecking. I think it’s a good mix with Colton, Pavlychev in the middle and Hodgson getting some speed and grit. They were really good today. It’s always nice to see those guys get rewarded for hard work. Those guys do sometimes don’t play a lot of minutes, but they’re trying to get the best out of it and they definitely did it today.

On having the league’s goal and assist leaders on his team
Obviously that always helps and we were just all joking but also being serious. Those two guys, we definitely want to have them on a two on one in overtime. It was just perfect timing. It’s not just what they’ve done recently, it’s what they’ve done all season long. And Sammy has just been a scoring machine and Tynan does what he does the best.

Ontario returns to action on Saturday night for its final matchup of 2023-24 against the San Jose Barracuda at Toyota Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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