WHO: Ontario Reign (5-4-1) vs. Tucson Roadrunners (6-3-0)
WHAT: AHL REGULAR-SEASON GAME #11
WHEN: Friday, November 10 @ 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 face the Tucson Roadrunners for the second time in three days on Hockey Fights Cancer Night Friday at Toyota Arena. Tucson picked up a 4-3 overtime win in the first game of the season between the clubs on Wednesday.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The Reign are one point behind the Roadrunners after coming up short in overtime on Wednesday. Tucson is tied with Coachella Valley for fifth place in the Pacific Division, each with 12 points, while Ontario is in seventh with 11 points to its name. The Reign have had an evenly balanced team thus far during their first 10 games of the regular season, averaging 3.00 goals per game offensively while allowing 3.2 goals per contest which ranks them in the middle third of the league in both categories. Ontario has been led by Charles Hudon, who turned things up a notch last weekend while returning to his former home in Colorado with five points in two games including four goals. Hudon’s team-high 11 points have come on seven goals and four assists. Just behind him is TJ Tynan, who posted a pair of assists Wednesday night to reach 10 points on the year. Friday’s contest is the second of eight scheduled matchups (four home, four away) between Ontario and Tucson this season.
LAST TIME OUT: An overtime goal by Vladislav Kolyachonok gave the Tucson Roadrunners the extra point Friday night in a 4-3 win over the Ontario Reign at Toyota Arena. The Reign scored twice in the third period to force the extra session with goals by Tyler Madden and Brandt Clarke, who tied the game during a 5-on-3 power play. Ontario’s first goal came in the opening period from Martin Chromiak, who netted his fourth tally of the season. Former Reign goaltender Matt Villalta earned the win for Tucson with 20 saves.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Ontario got the better of Tucson during the 2022-23 regular season, winning five of the eight matchups contested between the two clubs despite being outshot in the series. The Reign outscored the Roadrunners by a 22-19 margin and produced a 20% success rate on the power play, going 6-for-30 which included a 3-for-10 clip at home in Ontario. Tucson also had 30 power play opportunities in the series, but only converted four of them, giving the Reign an 86.7% penalty kill rate. TJ Tynan led Ontario against the Roadrunners with 10 points on a goal and nine assists a year ago, while Tyler Madden also made an impact for the Reign with six points in the series on three goals and three assists. Goaltender Matt Villalta, who is now part of the Tucson roster, went 2-0-0 against the Roadrunners with a 2.47 goals-against average.
CAN’T CONTAIN CHROMIUM: Forward Martin Chromiak has been a consistent offensive contributor for Ontario through the team’s first 10 games of 2023-24, his second professional season. While suiting up for each of the club’s contests, Chromiak has found the scoresheet six times, including three of his last four games where he posted four points on three goals and one assist. The Ilava, Slovakia native has picked up where he left off from his rookie season where he finished with 15 goals and 28 points and was a big contributor during the second half of the year with all his tallies coming after the calendar flipped to 2023. Chromiak , a former fifth round NHL Draft selection by the LA Kings in 2020, has suited up for 67 AHL games with Ontario in his career, totaling 35 points (19-16=35).
SCOUTING THE ROADRUNNERS: With a win under their belt on Wednesday in the series’ opener, Tucson comes into Friday’s game on a three-game winning streak after a home sweep of the Chicago Wolves last weekend, winning by scores of 3-2 and 5-3 on back -to-back nights. The Roadrunners opened the season with a road sweep in Texas over the Stars before a six-game homestand that saw them earn an even record of 3-3-0. Forward Dylan Guenther leads Tucson in scoring with nine points in nine games on two goals and seven assists. Eight-year veteran Justin Kirkland, now in his first season with the Roadrunners after a run with Anaheim and San Diego last year, has matched Kirkland with seven assists in six games while rookie Josh Doan has posted five goals to lead the club. Former Reign netminder Matt Villalta has starred with his new team, playing in eight of Tucson’s nine games and allowing just 19 tallies for a goals-against average of 2.39 to go along with a 0.916 save percentage.
CLARKE COMES THROUGH: Rookie defender Brandt Clarke scored his third goal of the 2023-24 season on the power play in the third period Wednesday to send the game to overtime. The strike was Clarke’s second man-advantage goal of the season, and he is one of only two players to score multiple times when the Reign have been up a man this year, joining Charles Hudon. The Ottawa, Ont. native leads Ontario in power play scoring, posting a team-high four points on the man-advantage (2-2=4). Through 10 games in 2023-24, Clarke has posted eight points on three goals and five assists while sending 41 shots on net, two less than Hudon, which ranks as the sixth-most in the AHL. The Kings’ former first round selection in the 2021 NHL Draft is also among the top 10 of the league’s defensive scorers early this season.
TYNAN SCORING IN BUNCHES: Ontario captain TJ Tynan is starting to heat up offensively, posting a pair of three-assist games over the last two weeks. Tynan, who tends to score in bunches, is now second on the club with 10 points this season on a goal and nine assists. After picking up a trio of helpers in Henderson on Oct. 27, Tynan matched that output on Saturday in Colorado with three more in the third period on goals by Charles Hudon and Alex Turcotte. The veteran leader is closing in on 200 career points during his time with Ontario, currently sitting at 189 with 23 goals and 166 assists in a span of 144 games over three seasons. The Reign are used to seeing Tynan’s output come all at once, as he had 26 multi-point games a year ago and 32 in his first season with Ontario during 2021-22.
2023-24 Head-to-Head Schedule vs. Tucson (all times Pacific):
Wed., Nov. 8 vs. Tucson, 3-4 OTL – Full Recap
Fri., Nov. 10 vs. Tucson, 7:00 p.m
Tue., Nov. 28 vs. Tucson, 7:00 p.m
Fri., Jan. 26 at Tucson, 6:00 p.m
Sat., Jan. 27 at Tucson, 6:00 p.m
Fri., Feb. 16 at Tucson, 6:00 p.m
Sat., Feb. 17 at Tucson, 6:00 p.m
Wed., Mar. 20 vs. Tucson, 7:00 p.m