Manor Ontario Reign Lineup vs. San Jose Barracuda; Rebound Ready in Season Finale at Home

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For the final time this season, the Ontario Reign will play a home game during the regular season and their opponent couldn’t be any more fitting. San Diego rolls into Toyota Arena on Friday night to close out their eight-game season set with a club they know well.

Like their NHL parent clubs, the Reign and Gulls always seem to hook up at this time of year. And just like the Kings and Ducks, their AHL offspring are currently on parallel paths. San Diego is fighting San Jose to stay out of the Pacific Division cellar, while Ontario is playoff bound and hoping to use the final few games remaining to build some momentum heading into the postseason.

Despite their obvious disparity on paper, Ontario has struggled against San Diego this season (sound familiar?). The Gulls embarrassed the Reign in front of their home fans by taking two games to open the 2023-24 season back in October. Overall, they’ve won four of the seven games played against coach Marco Sturm’s team this season.

As if that isn’t bad enough, the Reign are coming off a 3-1 drubbing by the Western Conference leading Coachella Valley Firebirds on Wednesday. So, tonight will be about resetting, responding, and rebounding.

To do so, Sturm is expected to turn back to rookie Erik Portillo in net. He last faced the Gulls about a month ago in a very strange game down in San Diego. The Reign lost that contest 2-1, yet they outshot the Gulls 42-13 that night. In three attempts this year, Portillo holds a 1-1-1 record against the Ducks AHL affiliate.

That game also ended a season-high eight-game winning streak. They won’t have that same luck this time, as Coachella just ended Ontario’s recent seven-game winning streak in the aforementioned loss earlier this week.

As for the rest of Sturm’s lineup, things will likely remain status quo, with Kings prospect Alex Turcotte drawing back in for his second game back from injury. He registered one shot on goal and finished the night a plus-1 while skating in his familiar role as the team’s second line center.

Among the other players to keep an eye on should be big Andre Lee. The 6-foot-5 forward had goals in three straight games before being held off the scoresheet last time out. Sturm also moved him up to the first line late in that game, looking to get some extra offense going.

Defensively, Brandt Clarke is getting plenty of attention too. The first year blueliner has put up 40 points (8G, 32A) in 45 games played thus far. He also leads all AHL defensemen in points-per-game (.89) and leads all rookie blueliners in assists (32). Putting it in a broader context, Clarke sits only four points back of leading all defensemen in points — while playing about 20 games fewer than most of the other guys in the Top 10.

REIGN PROJECTED LINEUP vs. GULLS


Chromiak – Tynan – Fagemo
Ward – Turcotte – Madden
Lee – Pinelli – Hodgson
Pavlychev – Helenius- Doty

Hicketts – Clarke
Nousiainen – Santini
Krygier – Wylie

Portillo (starter)
Dell

Other roster options include: (F) Olson and (D) Connauton, Inamoto, Millar

Injured: Rowe (lower body)

Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm Pacific Time and the game can be viewed on AHL TV.

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