Ontario Reign Faces Lake Erie Monsters In AHL’s Western Conference Finals

Ontario Reign center Nic Dowd
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — When the Ontario Reign open the American Hockey League’s Western Conference Finals tonight at Citizens Business Bank Arena (8:00 PM PDT), they will do so against a virtually unknown opponent.

Indeed, the Reign have not played the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets) this season. As such, at least in terms of actual on-ice experience, the two teams know nothing about each other.

But there’s always video, scouting and good’ol phone calls.

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Ontario Reign Looking To Get Back On Track Heading Into Big Playoff Weekend

LA Kings left wing prospect Michael Mersch, shown here parked in front of the net, in Game 1 of the
Ontario Reign’s second round AHL playoff series vs. the San Diego Gulls.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — After getting shutout by the San Diego Gulls, 3-0, in Game 3 of their best-of-seven, second round American Hockey League playoff series, on home ice, no less, the Ontario Reign are looking to get back to playing their game heading into this weekend’s Games 4 and 5.

The Reign lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 scheduled for Friday, May 13, 7:05 PM PDT, at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. Game 5 will be played at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario on Saturday, May 14, 7:00 PM.

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LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi: “You Can’t Re-Create, You Have To Re-Invent”

LOMBARDI: Update on Darryl Sutter contract negotiations included.


LA Kings President/General Manager Dean
Lombardi, shown here addressing the crowd
at their 2014 Stanley Cup Championship rally at
Staples Center in Los Angeles on June 16, 2014.
(click to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — The local media requested time with Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi about two weeks ago, but after initially acknowledging the request, there was nothing but silence from the Kings communications staff until the evening of May 5, when we were told that he would be available the next morning for a media conference call.

So why the long wait? As it turns out, the Kings are in deep, philosophical thought about all aspects of the team and hockey operations.

“I haven’t been avoiding you,” Lombardi began. “So if I give you a little preamble without going into particulars, after we got over the punch in the gut, I think we had to re-evaluate everything.”

“I think the theme of the last couple weeks—it started with the amateur scouts, and I’ll make it very simple,” Lombardi continued. “I think we talked about this after we had won the first Cup, and remember, I had told you I had talked to a number of people. Despite what a lot of those people told me, they also warned me that you’re not going to understand it, probably until you go through it.”

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Grandpa’s Advice Helps Michael Mersch Lead Ontario To Game 1 Win Over San Diego

LA Kings left wing prospect Michael Mersch helped lead the AHL’s Ontario Reign to a 5-3 win over the San Diego Gulls in Game 1 of their second
round playoff series on May 5, 2016, at Citizens Business
Bank Arena in Ontario, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — Los Angeles Kings left wing prospect Michael Mersch scored two goals to lead the Ontario Reign to a 5-3 victory over the San Diego Gulls in Game 1 of their second round American Hockey League playoff series at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario on May 5.

Mersch opened the scoring at 10:26 of the first period, batting the puck past Gulls goalie Matt Hackett from the bottom of the left circle.

Reign defenseman Vincent LoVerde scored on the power play at 14:37 of the first period, converting a back door play off a pass from Kings center prospect Nic Dowd, who was behind the left goal post.

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LA Kings, Anaheim Ducks Minor League Teams Face-Off In AHL Playoffs

LA Kings center prospect Nic Dowd is expected to be an impact player in the Ontario Reign’s
second round playoff matchup against the San Diego Gulls.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — They say rivalries can’t be true until teams meet in the playoffs, but whoever “they” happens to be must not have seen the American Hockey League’s Ontario Reign and San Diego Gulls go at each other in their first season as divisional rivals this year.

The Reign and the Gulls have only met twelve times, and were affiliates in separate locations in prior seasons, but the rivalry is very strong between the pair of prospect-building affiliates, the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks, respectively, of the National Hockey League.

“It’s a fun rivalry, especially with what the Kings and Ducks created,” Ontario forward Sean Backman said in video interviews with Reign public relations staff. “The Gulls and the Reign, we’re not too fond of each other, it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”

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