Manor Reign Recap: RD2, GM3 – Ontario Sweeps Abbotsford; Advances to Third Round


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

When Dean Lombardi managed the LA Kings through their championship era, he would often say he could feel when his team was dangerous just by being around the players.

Well at this point, nobody needs ‘feelings’ to analyze the type of run Ontario is currently on.

The undefeated Reign traveled north of the border to face the Abbotsford Canucks Wednesday with a series lead of 2-0 and had three contests scheduled to win just once to advance to the Pacific Division Finals. They got the job done and beat the Canucks 4-3 in Game 3, after finding themselves in an early hole when first intermission arrived.

The opening frame was unkind to Ontario, as they matched Abbotsford evenly with the same tenacious and physical play they’ve exuded all postseason; however, after an untimely turnover and an outnumbered attack, coach Marco Sturm’s team was behind 2-0 at the break.

Ontario responded decisively in the second period by scoring three unanswered goals on four consecutive shots by Samuel Fagemo (1), Charles Hudon (3), and Taylor Ward (2). And just like that, in a span of 1:21 of play, the Reign had a 3-2 lead.

Abbotsford scored an equalizer shortly after – taking advantage of a 2-on-1 situation. That didn’t last long, though. As the period neared to a close, Andre Lee (3) used his 6-foot-5 frame to force his way from behind the net to the inner slot and beat the goalie in what eventually stood as the game-winning goal.

Reign goaltender Erik Portillo helped shut the door the rest of the way, turning aside seven shots flawlessly in the third period to secure the game and series victory. In fact, Ontario sacrificed bodies with blocked shots, coming together defensively to only allow Abbotsford four shots in the final 10 minutes, including a full two minutes of 5-on-6 action with the home goalie pulled.

Ontario extended their undefeated streak to five games, going 5-0 in the postseason after having now swept Bakersfield in Round 1 and Abbotsford in Round 2. The Reign finished the season as one of the hottest teams in the American League with 19 wins over the final 24 games played – good for a winning percentage of .792.

With an early advancement in the series, Ontario will get a nearly week-long rest while awaiting their next opponent (the winner of the Coachella Valley-Calgary series). Coachella Valley currently lead their series 2-1.

Lee Leads Again: It’s been 13 games since Lee returned from an injury that sidelined him for several months of the regular season. He’s been more than noticeable, with seven goals over that stretch – including two game winners. The Kings prospect is tied for second on the team with three tallies in the postseason, all while playing on the third line and currently on a two-game goal streak.

Decisive Second and Third Periods: The Reign have been incredibly dominant in the later stages of postseason games, outscoring their opponents 10-1 in the second periods and 7-2 in the final frames. Interestingly, Ontario has only scored twice in the five opening periods of their playoff run, while allowing three goals against.

Perfect Penalty Kill: The Reign and Portillo held the Canucks scoreless on the penalty kill in the series, going 8-for-8. Ontario’s PK was in the bottom half of the league during the regular season, yet has found success in the postseason, ranking fifth-best while killing 15 of 17 penalties.

Sammy’s All Right: While Fagemo led the team (and nearly the league) in scoring during the regular season, he finally scored his first goal of the postseason to start the second period comeback; a nifty redirect over the shoulder of the goaltender. He has four points (1G, 3A) in five games, and was the only Reign player to have a point in all three games of the series.

Conversation with Clarke: Mayor’s Manor had a chance to catch up with Brandt Clarke to discuss his first AHL postseason earlier this week. The rookie blueliner touched on his time with the Kings, his excitement about a Calder Cup run in Ontario, and his penchant for being a nuisance while playing with an edge. It’s worth a read if you missed it.

With the series ending and the dust settling on the second round sweep, look for a deeper dive into what went down vs. Abbotsford in the coming days.


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Lead photo via Ben Lypka

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