PREVIEW - ONTARIO @ GRAND RAPIDS, 11/16Nov 16, 2018
WHO: Ontario Reign (4-5-2-1) @ Grand Rapids Griffins (7-6-0-1)
WHAT: AHL REGULAR SEASON GAME
WHEN: Friday, November 16, @ 4:00 PM (Pacific)
WHERE: Van Andel Arena – Grand Rapids, MI
TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Ontario Reign kick off a two-game trip to the Midwest as they visit the Grand Rapids Griffins for the only time this season. Ontario and Grand Rapids have never met before and will have one additional meeting this season, a midweek tilt in early April back in Southern California.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Ontario enters tonight’s action off of a weekend split against the Stockton Heat. After falling 5-1 in Stockton on Friday, the Reign bounced back with a 4-1 win against the same opponent on Sunday in Ontario. The Reign have now won three of their last four games after going the previous six without a victory. Tonight’s contest marks the Reign’s first away game of the season against the Central Division and their third overall – Ontario is 1-0-1 this season outside of the division thus far and was 7-4-1 outside of the division a season ago. Goaltender Charles Williams was first off today, while defenseman Austin Strand and forward Brad Morrison were on late, with Jamie Devane not making the trip due to injury.
GO TO IN GOAL: Following the recall of Cal Petersen to the NHL, Charles Williams is slated to make his second straight start for Ontario. Petersen made his NHL debut with the Kings on Tuesday, stopping 15 of 16 in a relief appearance. On Sunday, Williams earned his first career AHL victory as he stopped 37 of the 38 shots he faced in the victory over Stockton, an AHL career-high in saves for the former Manchester Monarch.
DYNAMIC DEFENSEMEN: Ontario received all four of its goals from the blueline in Sunday’s win over Stockton. Defensemen Daniel Brickley, Kurtis MacDermid, Matt Roy and Sean Walker all found the back of the net in the victory. Ontario had received just eight goals in the previous 11 games by defensemen. With his tally on Sunday, Walker now has four goals on the season, tying him for sixth in the AHL in goals by a defenseman.
BREAKING OUT OF HIS SHEL: Reign forward Sheldon Rempal collected a pair of assists in Sunday’s victory, his fifth multi-point game of the season. Rempal currently leads the Reign with 13 points (6-7-13) from just nine games played, also ranking tied for the team lead in goals and third in assists. Rempal also made his NHL debut this season with the Kings, appearing in three contests with Los Angeles during October.
ROAD WOES: Ontario will look to break its recent road woes tonight in Grand Rapids. The Reign are currently 1-4-0 on the season away from home, with its only victory coming back on October 6. Ontario has been stronger at home, with points from six of seven games, but is winless in regulation this season on the road and dating back to last season, is 1-7-1 in its last nine regular-season road games.
THE MICHIGAN MEN: Tonight’s game marks a homecoming of sorts for Reign forward Drake Rymsha, defenseman Matt Roy and goaltender Charles Williams, all of whom are Michigan natives. All three played amateur hockey in Michigan (Roy and Williams collegiately, Rymsha as a visiting player in the OHL), but tonight’s game will be the first time for each player to play in Michigan at the pro level - More on this via Reign Insider later today.
A GRAND RETURN: Ontario Head Coach Mike Stothers also make his return to Michigan, Grand Rapids to be specific, having served as the team’s Head Coach during the 2007-08 season. Stothers’ team, which featured former LA King Kyle Quincey, posted a 31-41-8 record in his only year with the franchise.