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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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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LA Kings, San Jose Sharks Minor League Teams Square Off In Playoffs, Too

Ontario Reign goaltender Peter Budaj
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — As their parent teams finalize a series in the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the American Hockey League affiliates of the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks begin their best-of-five game series on Friday afternoon in San Jose.

At season‘s beginning, the Pacific Division was a new standard for the AHL. Now it gets one of California‘s top rivalries between two of the premier California organizations, as the Ontario Reign and San Jose Barracuda will keep the organizational on-ice rivalry fresh as they square off for a best-of-five game set in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs pitting Southern California vs. Northern California, just like the Kings and Sharks.

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Kevin Gravel Is Moving Up The LA Kings Depth Chart Fast

LA Kings defenseman prospect Kevin Gravel
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO AND LOS ANGELES, CA — One thing that has been virtually automatic with Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter is that he is a negative feedback kind of guy when it comes to talking about young players.

Indeed, Sutter chooses to tear them down rather than sing their praises, as his way of motivating them. In fact, he has stuck to this method of motivating his young charges so much that when he does say anything even remotely positive about a young player, it comes as a shock.

As such, when Sutter recently offered praise of defenseman prospect Kevin Gravel, who was recalled from the American Hockey League’s Ontario Reign on February 11, without hesitation, shock and astonishment ensued.

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