Manor Reign Recap: Thomas Returns. Fagemo Scores, Ontario Falls in Shootout

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It was going to take more than some Irish luck for the Reign to find a way past the best team in the Western Conference when Coachella Valley visited Toyota Arena on Friday night.

Wearing their special black and green St. Patrick’s Day jerseys, Ontario and starting goaltender Aaron Dell found themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard early – surrendering a lone goal over 20 minutes, yet finishing the period down 1-0.

Then – for the second time in two straight games – league leader Sammy Fagemo (36) scored right as the second period opened to even the contest. Transitioning at top speed through the neutral zone, the crafty 24-year-old winger shoveled the puck past a defender on a breakaway and chipped it past the Firebirds goaltender.

Fagemo finds the pot of gold in the net!#ReignTrain | #CVvsONT | @MichelobULTRA pic.twitter.com/5QgWN5B1pq

— Ontario Reign (@ontarioreign) March 16, 2024


Less than seven minutes later, while playing 4-on-4, Ontario’s Joe Hicketts led Martin Chromiak (13) on a quick break with a flip-pass over the heads of the defense. The speedy Chromiak finished the play with a forehand-backhand move to pull his team ahead 2-1.

Chromiak is slapping in some St. Paddy's Day luck with this goal!#ReignTrain | #CVvsONT | @MichelobULTRA pic.twitter.com/JXSpYLCKoK

— Ontario Reign (@ontarioreign) March 16, 2024


The home team entered the final period up a goal, yet Coachella Valley bounced back with two goals of their own to reclaim the lead 3-2.

Their was no quit in the coach Marco Sturm’s group, though. With the Reign goalie pulled and looking for the equalizer, captain T.J. Tynan (8) finished a cross-crease play to send the game to overtime.

TYNAN TIES THE GAME!!!#ReignTrain | #CVvsONT | @MichelobULTRA pic.twitter.com/k8m5MzDbm0

— Ontario Reign (@ontarioreign) March 16, 2024


After a scoreless 3-on-3 period, the action advanced to a shootout, where the Firebirds scored once and the Reign were held without a goal from Taylor Ward, Tyler Madden, and Fagemo.

On the positive side, Ontario picked up a point in the shootout loss and moved to a record of 25-0-0-3 when leading after two periods. Tynan’s 45th assist moved him to top of the AHL; providing the Reign with both league leaders in goals (Fagemo) and assists (Tynan).

Thomas Returns: Kings prospect Akil Thomas returned to the lineup after missing the prior two games following0 a blindside hit received in Calgary last Sunday. He showed well, posting a plus-one rating and was second on the team with four shots-on-goal. Pushing several other options to the side, Sturm opted to re-insert him to the lineup in his regular 2C spot with Madden and Charles Hudon.

Sammy Stat: Scoring in his second straight game, Fagemo has seven of Ontario’s 20 goals over the past five games. He’s not only scoring off his signature one-timer, but also putting away dirty goals around the net and on breakaways – showing his wide range of abilities. It’s nearly impossible to watch a Reign game and not notice LA’s former second-round pick when he’s on the ice.

Pinelli Back to 4C: While Thomas was out of the lineup, Sturm promoted rookie Franky Pinelli from 4C up to the second line. That experience and exposure showed a glimmer of what management can expect to see as the young Canadian continues to grow. After an expected slow start to his inaugural pro campaign, Pinelli has been producing more post-Christmas. Most recently, he has six points (3G, 3A) in his last eight games.

Chromiak’s Impact: The second-year pro continues to hold down the left wing position on Ontario’s first line. The 21-year-old NHL prospect scored his first goal in eight games on Friday, despite a stretch where he’s contributed seven points (2G, 5A) over the past nine games. He’s on pace to better his numbers from his debut season last year, sitting just one point shy from matching his 2022-23 points total with 14 games still remaining. Chromiak is beginning to show a bit of reliability as well, turning last year’s minus-16 rating into a plus-four rating.

The Reign return to action Saturday evening in Bakersfield to close out their busy week of five games in seven days. Two more important points are on the line, as the Condors sit only three points behind Ontario with two games in hand.

Final shots of the night via new @MayorsManor photog Miles Mendez… #ReignTrain pic.twitter.com/UY9R7VKelg

— The Mayor | Team MM (@mayorNHL) March 16, 2024


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Lead photo by Miles Mendez

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