It took until the final game of the regular season, but the Ontario Reign’s first round opponent has finally been determined. Below we take a look at the Western Conference Quarterfinal between the Ontario Reign and the San Jose Barracuda.
Final Regular Season Records:
Ontario Reign: 44-19-4-1 (93pts/0.684% —Western Conference Regular Season Champions)
San Jose Barracuda: 31-26-8-3 (73pts/0.537%)
Game Schedule (Home Team in BOLD CAPS and All Times Local):
Game 1 – Fri, April 22 – Ontario at SAN JOSE 7:30 pm
Game 2 – Sat, April 23 – Ontario at SAN JOSE 7:30 pm
Game 3 – Thu., April 28 – San Jose at ONTARIO 7:00 pm
*Game 4 – Fri., April 29 – San Jose at ONTARIO 7:00 pm
*Game 5 – Sun., May 1 – San Jose at ONTARIO 3:00 pm
*= If Necessary
Season Series Recap: The Reign won the 12 game regular season series 9-3-0-0. The three losses were all in San Jose and were all by two goals (4-2, 4-2, 3-1). Three of the wins were in overtime and two of those featured third period comebacks from the Reign. The Barracuda have relied heavily on Aaron Dell to keep the Reign’s somewhat anemic offense in check.
How Ontario Wins: The Reign need to consistently be the team that won the Pacific Division. Getting Vincent LoVerde back will be a big boost to a depleted blue line which is now missing Kevin Gravel due to a call-up. Michael Mersch and Nic Dowd will likely get a lot of attention from San Jose’s defense and need to be prepared for it. Rookie forward Adrian Kempe needs to find consistency in his own play which has seen long stretches of ineffectiveness. The team as a whole will need to ride the line of physicality without holding a parade to the penalty box.
How San Jose Wins: Aaron Dell. He is the key to the success of the Barracuda. Dell has been getting better throughout the season and was the main reason the Barracuda won the three games against the Reign. If Dell can keep improving game by game, he gives the Barracuda a chance to find the chinks in Budaj’s armor.
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