REIGN PREVIEW: Ontario at Colorado, 11/5
WHO: Ontario Reign (7-1-0) at Colorado Eagles (3-5-0)
WHAT: AHL REGULAR SEASON GAME #9
WHEN: Saturday, November 5 at 6:05 PM Pacific
WHERE: Budweiser Event Center – Loveland, CO
HOW TO FOLLOW: VIDEO: AHLTV – AUDIO: Mixlr -TWITTER: @ShafReign & @OntarioReign
TONIGHT’S MATCH: The Ontario Reign take on the Colorado Eagles for the second time in three nights on Saturday evening, completing a series in Loveland this week. Ontario’s longest road trip to date began Thursday with a 2-0 shutout against Colorado, earning a bit of revenge against the club that ended its Calder Cup playoff run last spring in second round This series saw the Eagles complete a three-game sweep to advance to the Pacific Division Finals, where they eventually fell to the Stockton Heat. Last season, the Reign finished with a 2-3-1-0 record in six meetings against the Eagles.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KEEP: Ontario heads into Saturday’s streak after winning six straight games, its longest streak since going eight games a year ago, from Oct. 19 to Nov. 7, 2021. Colorado has lost four of its last five exits The Reign currently sit atop the AHL overall standings with 14 points and a .875 winning percentage, while ranking first defensively with an average of just 1.75 goals per game. Ontario has also fared well on the offensive end, averaging 3.75 goals per contest, which ranks seventh in the AHL. The Eagles have had success when they get ahead early, going 3-1-0 after scoring the opening goal.
LAST TIME: Matt Villalta stopped all 31 shots he faced to record his second AHL shutout in the Ontario Reign’s 2-0 shutout of the Colorado Eagles on Thursday night at the Budweiser Events Center. Both Ontario goals were scored by Lias Andersson in the second period, each assisted by former Eagles forward and current Reign captain TJ Tynan. Ontario has now won six games in a row and continues to lead the Pacific Division with 14 points in the standings.
SUCCESS OF THE SECOND PERIOD: The Reign have been dominant in second periods this season, outscoring opponents by a 15-2 margin, which is the largest positive goal differential of any team in a single period this season. Ontario’s two goals allowed are also the lowest second-period total in the AHL. In their last four games alone, the Reign have scored 10 goals in the middle and allowed just one.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES: An AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, the Eagles have had plenty of personnel changes to the team that saw success last season, with several players finding roles at the highest level with the defending champions of the Stanley Cup. Notable returnees include Jean-Luc Foudy, who has seven points in eight games this season with three goals and four assists, as well as former first-round pick Shane Bowers, who has six points (2-4=6 ). Captain Jayson Megna is also back for another year, as is defender Keaton Middleton. Through eight games, forward Charles Hudon, who spent last season with the Syracuse Crunch, leads the team with eight points on four goals and four assists. Veteran defenseman Brad Hunt has paced the Blues team with five points on two goals and three assists. In goal, Justus Annunen has played five games, while Jonas Johansson has started three times. Annunen has been in goal for each of the team’s three wins, while Johansson has the best goals-against average at 2.73.
LEARN FROM LIAS: Reigns forward Lias Andersson had a big performance Thursday night, scoring both of Ontario’s goals in a 2-0 win. It was Smogen, Swede’s first multi-goal goal since scoring two in back-to-back games with Ontario last season on March 2 and 4. This season, two of Andersson’s three goals have come on the power play and his six points are tied. fourth most of the team. The sixth-year pro recently played his 100th AHL game last week and has 68 points on 30 goals and 38 assists during his time in the league.
VILLALTA AT THE TOP OF HIS GAME: Goaltender Matt Villalta had his first shutout on Thursday since April 24, 2021, when he turned aside 34 shots at Bakersfield to shut out the Condors. The Godfrey, Ont. native has gotten off to a strong start this season, winning all three appearances and allowing just four total goals to go along with a 1.33 goals-against average and .958 save percentage. Villalta is also coming off a breakout season last year when he posted a 28-10-7 record in 46 games with a career-best 2.98 goals-against percentage and a .903 save percentage.
TJ THE GREAT: After being held off the scoresheet in back-to-back games last week, Reign captain TJ Tynan bounced back with a pair of two-assist performances in his last two outings and is now tied for third in the AHL with 12 points this season. Most recently, Tynan assisted on both of Lias Andersson’s goals in a 2-0 win at Colorado on Thursday. The Orland Park, Ill. native. leads all skaters in the league with 11 assists in eight contests this season. Six of his helpers have come on the power play, which is tied with teammate Jordan Spence and four others for the league-high.
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