Manor Reign Recap: Ontario Blanked by Jack Campbell; A Busy Week in Review

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A whirlwind week for the Reign settled down Saturday evening in Bakersfield when they took to the ice for their fifth game in seven days.

Hoping for an impressive performance to end the long run, Ontario couldn’t get one of their 29 shots past ex-Reign goaltender Jack Campbell, who shut the door on the road team to claim a convincing 4-0 victory for the hometown Condors. This was the fourth time the Reign have been shutout this season. At the other end of the ice, rookie netminder Erik Portillo saved 30 of 33 shots faced.

After winning eight games in a row, Ontario extended their losing streak to three straight.

The visitors were without forward Hayden Hodgson, who was suspended three games by the AHL for a hit the night before. This created some interesting line shuffling, as defenseman Cole Krygier was added to the fourth line.

During his postgame media availability, coach Marco Sturm shared that his team “slept” through portions of the game but were able to scramble a good effort about halfway through, which he somewhat expected. Further, Ontario’s bench boss said his team left a lot of energy on the ice the night prior when they played a playoff-like effort against the Western Conference-leading Firebirds back at Toyota Arena.

Then there was the travel to contend with, as well. The busy week started with a flight to Canada for a two-game series against the Wranglers, earning two victories while outscoring Calgary 11-3. The Reign then headed to San Diego to face the Gulls and fired 42 shots against a goaltender that beat them 2-1. There was a brief stop at home in an emotional shootout loss, where then they immediately hopped on a bus to Bakersfield so they could face the Condors the next day.

Ontario ended the week with a 2-2-1 record (.500 PTS%) and didn’t lose much in the way of their standings. The team sits comfortably in a playoff spot with a 13 point cushion. For Sturm and his club, “playoffs started a while ago” is the common comment heard around the team these days. They’re focused on fine-tooling and finishing the final 13 games with all eyes on the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs.

Power-less Play: The Reign hold the 7th-best power play in the league but went 0-for-4 against Bakersfield and has gone cold as of late. Over their past five games played, they have converted on only one of their past 18 power plays.

Rookie Clarke: The dynamic Brandt Clarke has an impressive 34 points in his 37-game rookie campaign. Interestingly, he’s been held pointless in four games straight for the first time this season.

In the five games back from his NHL call-up, the 21-year-old has merely one assist and a minus-three rating. Some period of adjustment would be understandable as he’s been paired with a more two-way defender in Joe Hicketts rather than the more defensive-first partners he’s been grouped with before, like Tobias Bjornfot (claimed on waivers) and Jacob Moverare (on NHL call-up).

What to Watch For: The Reign enjoy a three-game home stand this week, facing Tucson on Wednesday, Calgary on Friday, and Bakersfield on Sunday. The three match-ups will be excellent opportunities to continue preparing for playoffs, as each of these opponents could very likely be Ontario’s first round opponents.

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