Manor Reign Recap: Portillo, Fagemo, Chromiak Propel Team to Beat Rival Gulls


They see me rollin'. They hatin'.
Staff member

Returning to San Diego to face their longtime rivals for the first time since late December, the Reign skated to a 3-2 win over the Gulls on Saturday night. It was their second victory in back-to-back games over the weekend, after coming off a dramatic overtime win the night before, where they picked up two points from division-leading Coachella Valley.

Ontario struck first, early in the opening period, off another power play goal from Sammy Fagemo — his 25th goal of the season. Martin Chromiak (12) and Charles Hudon (17) scored later in the game to give coach Marco Sturm’s club a commanding 3-0 lead.

After a bout of sloppy play and a careless penalty, the Gulls made it exciting by scoring a pair of quick goals in just a span of 2:07 early in the third period, cutting things to 3-2. However, rookie goaltender Erik Portillo shut things down from there, stopping the home team and securing another important road win for Ontario.

Overall, it was a successful week for the Reign, ending things with two wins after a shootout loss at home on Wednesday; giving them five out of a possible six points available.

Winning Streak: Ontario has now strung together a nifty five-game streak (3-1-0-1, .700 PCT%) of improved play after struggling to find any points in the five games prior (0-4-1, .100 PCT%). Sturm said he attributes their recent success to an attention to team defense from his players:

“I told the guys before the game, ‘The last five, six games, whatever it was, we kept the opponent at less than two goals and that means you give yourself a chance to win a hockey game every night if you’re going to play like that, and you’re committed to playing defense.’ And look at the game today; it’s two goals against and it gives you a chance to win the hockey game. That’s a little bit of mindset we have to have, especially when we’re in a slump. You have to play better defense, and I think that’s been the key for our success lately.”

In their current stretch of five games, the Reign have only allowed 1.60 goals against, whereas in the five games prior, they allowed 4.40 GAA.

Moverare + Hicketts: Speaking of defense, Sturm was complimentary of both Kings prospect Jacob Moverare and veteran blueliner Joe Hicketts, and their impact to the team both on and off the ice. While not always playing on the same pair, they’ve heavily contributed over these past five games. Specifically, Moverare has earned a plus-six rating and put up four points (1G, 3A), while Hicketts been plus-seven with six assists.

The Reliable Portillo: Also contributing to the defense has been the stellar play of Ontario’s freshman goalie. Portillo continues to shine, with a record of 2-0-0-1, along with a .953 save percentage and a 1.33 goals against average over his past three games. Following their win in San Diego, Sturm commended his keeper and thought he deserved better:

“[Portillo] was great. He was outstanding. He kept us zero on the score sheet for a long, long time – and that’s why I’m a little bit mad too. We made the mistakes and he kept us in. We made it and we gave up two goals. It wasn’t on him or his fault. Sometimes it’s not fair either, but he played great today.”

Sammy The Sniper: Fagemo has been red-hot, chipping in five goals over the past five games, and twelve goals in the past twelve games. He’s finding his usual spots on the ice, with most of his success coming from the top of the left circle.

What to Watch For: The Reign will be home all of this coming week, where they’ll face San Jose on Tuesday and have a rematch against San Diego Friday. Both opponents sit at the bottom of the Pacific Division. Then, next Sunday, with playoff implications on the line, they’ll have an important match against an Abbotsford team that is just three points ahead of them.



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