OJR Begin New Year With Eyes on First

by Sebastian Abdon Ibarra

The Ontario Jr Reign returns to Ontario Center Ice Arena from the Las Vegas showcase and holiday break to take on the third-place Las Vegas Thunderbirds. This three-game set against Las Vegas is an important one for Ontario on a couple of different levels. 

Photo by Sophia Mitchell

The Jr Reign currently sit firmly in second place in the division with an eight-point lead over the Thunderbirds. A series win at the very least would put even more distance between the two teams. In addition, Ontario is only two points behind the Fresno Monsters for first place in the division. A couple of wins or even a sweep of Las Vegas is just what the Jr Reign needs to keep pace with Fresno or even overtake them in the standings. 

It has been a while since these two teams faced off back at the end of September of last year. The Jr Reign traveled to Vegas and dropped two of three to the Thunderbirds, but at this point, we all know how much this Jr Reign squad has grown since the first month of the season. 

The Thunderbirds have had an eventful season with a coaching change and a number of trades. They have been a strong offensive team this season with an average of 4.85 goals per game this season, which is right on par with the Jr Reign’s average of 4.93. Ontario boasts the better defense with 28 fewer goals surrendered than Las Vegas. 

The Jr Reign hold the advantage on power plays and penalty kills in this matchup, especially with Las Vegas being on the road where they only convert an abysmal 13.73% of their power plays. 

Rhys Doyle, Chris Lai, and Tristen Friedman are all players to watch out for in this series as they come off their impressive week in Las Vegas during the showcase. Doyle led the way for the Jr Reign with five points. Lai and Friedman were right behind him with four points each. 

So join us on Friday, Jan. 12 at 9:10 p.m. for a matchup between the second and third-place teams in the Pacific Division. Along with a special musical performance from Antidote! 

Also, don’t miss out on First Responders Night on Saturday, and a Jr Reign Scrimmage on Sunday!