REIGN PREVIEW 4/3 – Ontario at Henderson

WHO: Ontario Reign (36-21-3-4) at Henderson Silver Knights (26-32-2-5)
WHEN: Wednesday, April 3 @ 7:00 PM Pacific
WHERE: Lee’s Family Forum – Henderson, NV

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: With eight games remaining on their regular season schedule, the Ontario Reign are set to face the Silver Knights in Henderson for their first contest of April on Wednesday night at the newly renamed Lee’s Family Forum. The two teams have each recorded three wins from their six previous meetings this year, but Ontario has earned points from five of them with a 3-1-1-1 record.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The Reign are aiming to extend the AHL’s longest active winning streak and earn their sixth straight victory on Wednesday. Dating back to late February, Ontario has been one of the hottest teams in the league with 13 wins from their last 16 games for a record of 13-2-0-1. During that span, Ontario has outscored opponents by a combined score of 55-32, allowing an average of just two goals per game which has improved their season-long defense ranking to fourth in the league. They’ve also claimed points from 12 straight home contests, dating back to their most recent matchup against Henderson on Feb. 9. Ontario is even with the Tucson Roadrunners for second place in the Pacific Division standings, each with 79 points. Henderson is on the outside looking in at the playoff picture, sitting in eighth place with seven games remaining. The Silver Knights are the lowest penalized team in the division on average, taking an average of just 10.68 penalty minutes per game. Only four teams in the AHL have taken a lower number of infractions this season.

LAST TIME OUT: Andre Lee scored a goal and an assist in his first game in over two months and the Ontario Reign won their fifth straight game, defeating the Bakersfield Condors by a 4-3 score on Saturday night at Toyota Arena. With the victory, Ontario finished March with record of 10-2-0-1, their most successful month of the 2023-24 campaign.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: Ontario has earned multi-goal victories in all three of their wins over Henderson this season, winning 4-1 on Oct. 27 and 3-1 on Dec. 6 before a 7-1 rout on Dec. 30, but they were shut out 3-0 by the Silver Knights on New Year’s Eve in Ontario and fell 4-3 in a shootout on Feb. 9. Overall, the Reign have outscored the Silver Knights by a 19-13 margin in the series. Henderson has held a 174-156 edge in shots on goal in the six contests. Both teams have scored twice on the man-advantage against the other this season, each going 2-for-16 on the power play in the series. Brandt Clarke has led all Reign skaters against the Silver Knights this season with eight points on two goals and six assists, while forwards Charles Hudon (3-2=5), Samuel Fagemo (1-4=5) and TJ Tynan (1-4=5) have each totaled five points. A year ago, Ontario posted a record of 4-4-0 from eight contests against Henderson, which included a 2-2-0 mark at each team’s venue.

DRIVING OPPONENTS MAD: Reign forward Tyler Madden has recorded points in five straight games, which have all resulted in wins for Ontario. Madden’s longest point streak of the season has consisted of two goals and four assists, which increased his season-long scoring total to 29 points on 14 tallies and 15 helpers. While the forward’s goal number is down from the 20 he finished with last season, his assist total is up, already surpassing his 13 from a year ago. The fourth year forward has been a model of consistency over the past two campaigns, missing just a single game. This season’s point total of 29 has him just four behind his career-high of 33 that was set with the Reign last season. Madden’s next goal will be the 50th of his AHL career and he’s also just two points away from 100 with Ontario, where he’s played all 197 of his professional games.

SCOUTING THE SILVER KNIGHTS: Henderson comes into Wednesday’s matchup after dropping a 3-2 decision to Coachella Valley on Saturday night. The Silver Knights are led offensively by forward Grigori Denisenko, who has a team-high 48 points on 18 goals and 30 assists while appearing in 58 of the team’s 65 games. Former Reign forward Sheldon Rempal is the club’s leader in goal scoring with 24 tallies and has achieved 40 total points on the season. Dysin Mayo is the highest scoring blueliner on the roster with 21 points in 60 games on five goals and 16 assists. Jiri Patera has spent the most time in Henderson’s crease this season, playing in 24 games, but a recent recall has left the Silver Knights with Isaiah Saville and Jesper Vikman as their two remaining options in net. Saville has appeared in 20 contests and has a 3.20 goals-against average, while Vikman has earned a 0.902 save percentage from 14 outings.

WARD-ING OFF OPPONENTS: Forward Taylor Ward has given the team a boost of late and was brought up to the team’s top offensive line alongside captain TJ Tynan and Martin Chromiak for last week’s wins over San Jose and Bakersfield. In his last five games, all wins for Ontario, Ward accumulated a plus-8 rating while scoring two goals and two assists. He has also not been on the ice for any even-strength goals against during the five-game run. Overall on the year Ward has a team-high plus-20 rating which ranks in the top-20 among all AHL skaters. His 27 points on eight goals and 19 helpers have surpassed the 26 points he put up last season as a rookie while appearing in 71 of Ontario’s 72 regular season games.

LEE RETURNS WITH A BANG: Forward Andre Lee posted two points Saturday in his first action in two months since sustaining an injury on Jan. 27. The Karlstad, Sweden native scored his fifth goal of the year to tie the game at 2-2 late in the second period before assisting on a go-ahead tally by Nikita Pavlychev at 2:56 of the third. While Lee has only recorded nine points in 28 games this season, the attacker has scored in bunches, recording three multi-point games. He previously scored twice in his season-debut against Calgary on Nov. 17 and on the road in Abbotsford Jan. 16. In limited action this year, Lee has tied his career-high in scoring which he set during 2022-23 in 58 contests.

2023-24 Head-to-Head Schedule vs. Henderson (all times Pacific):
Fri., Oct. 27 at Henderson, 4-1 W – Full Recap
Wed., Dec. 6 vs. Henderson, 3-1 W – Full Recap
Wed., Dec. 13 vs. Henderson, 2-3 OTL – Full Recap
Sat., Dec. 30 at Henderson, 7-1 W – Full Recap
Sun., Dec. 31 vs. Henderson, 0-3 L – Full Recap
Fri., Feb. 9 vs. Henderson, 3-4 SOL – Full Recap
Wed., Apr. 3 at Henderson, 7:00 p.m.
Sat., Apr. 13 at Henderson, 7:00 p.m.

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