Manor Reign Recap: Ontario Earns Seventh Win in a Row; Just Admire Those Fagemo and Portillo Stats

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There might have been snow on the ground Sunday when Ontario visited a divisional rival in Calgary, but nothing appeared to be cooling down the red-hot Reign as they chased their seventh win in a row.

Ontario acted quickly once the puck dropped on game one of their back-to-back set north of the border, with a two-goal first period by their leading goal scorer Samuel Fagemo (32, 33). Additional goals from forwards Nikita Pavlychev (2) and Taylor Ward (6) in the middle frame put things out of reach for the home team.

Nursing a 4-0 lead heading into the final period of regulation, rookie goaltender Erik Portillo went nearly perfect, saving 15 of 16 shots against in the third. His lone goal against was a friendly tip-in from Ontario defender Brandt Clarke, who broke up a cross-crease pass with his stick and ultimately deflected it behind the netminder.

Fagemo completed his third hat trick of the season (34) late in the game with an empty net goal, after hunting down a puck in the neutral zone and speeding through defenders to break away. The swift Swede is tied for the top scorer in the American Hockey League despite having 15 fewer games played.

🚨
HAT TRICK FAGEMO!!
🚨
#ReignTrain | #ONTvsCGY pic.twitter.com/gQyXsmgltL

— Ontario Reign (@ontarioreign) March 11, 2024


With their 5-1 victory in hand, the Reign jumped two points ahead of the Wranglers and are comfortably in a playoff spot with a 12-point margin. They’ve now won seven games in a row and have points in eight straight contests.

Everything He Touches Turns to Goals: Fagemo has been unstoppable this season. Not only does he lead the league in power play goals (16), but he’s also now set a new franchise record for PP goals.

The 23-year-old forward will have a birthday later this week. Perhaps the celebration has already started though, as he’s recorded three hat tricks and 26 points (21G, 5A) in his last 17 games, along with a shooting percentage of 28%.

Clarke’s Return: On loan from the Kings, Clarke returned to the Reign and played heavy minutes while regaining his top spot on the power play. With the man advantage, he and Fagemo connected on a clever one-touch passing play that resulted in a goal. After the game, coach Marco Sturm referenced a bit of rust in his young defender’s play, which was to be expected. Part of this also came from, as Sturm also noted, the jump in playing 7-8 minutes per game with Los Angeles to playing roughly 20 minutes with Ontario.

Portillo Impresses (Again): The freshman goaltender is now riding a personal four-game winning streak and has picked up points in seven straight games (5-0-2). Portillo boasts a 1.57 goals-against-average (GAA) in that span. For all rookie goalies, he ranks second in save percentage, third in GAA, and third in wins.

Potential Thomas Injury: Akil Thomas took a knee-on-knee hit in the first eight minutes of the game. He required the trainer to help him off the ice; however, he did return later in the game. All eyes will be on his status for Monday’s rematch.

What to Watch For: The Reign entered the game against Calgary facing five games in a seven-day stretch. After playing the back-half of their set in Calgary they’ll fly to San Diego to play the Gulls on Wednesday, then stop by Toyota Arena to play the Firebirds Friday, and finally settle in Bakersfield Saturday to cap off their travels. Sturm will be looking to keep his group focused on remaining the hottest team in the AHL over what will be a very busy week.

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Lead photo via Calgary Wranglers

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