OJR Clinch Playoff Berth With Win Over Sabers

by Sebastian Abdon Ibarra

The Ontario Jr Reign have punched their ticket to the playoffs with a 5-3 victory over the San Diego Sabers. Their current seven-game winning streak is their second longest of the season and it could not have come at a better time with an important series against the Fresno Monsters next up on the schedule. 

Unlike Friday’s game, this one was decided early on. The first period saw a combined six goals from both sides, and the battle was won by the Jr Reign with their four goals to the Sabers’ two. 

With special teams playing evenly matched in this game, the outcome was decided by the Jr Reign’s ability to simply put up more shots on goal and brute force their way to victory. Ontario had 18 shots on goal in the first period compared to the Sabers’ eight, and in total, the Jr Reign outshot San Diego by 19. 

The game came down to Ontario’s ability to outscore the Sabers in the first period, which gave the defense and Julian Arenal the time to collect themselves and make adjustments in the next two periods. 

Arenal deserves a lot of credit for being able to shake off a rough first period and keep a good San Diego offense in check for the rest of the game. After scoring two goals in the first seven minutes of the game, the Sabers would only score once more for the remaining 53 minutes. 

Through 10 games, Arenal has an 8-0 record, 2.34 GAA, and 0.904 save percentage. Compare that to his 3.14 GAA and 0.886 save percentage in the 2022-23 season and the results speak for themselves. The development of both Arenal and Josh Henson from last season to this one has been a major reason for the Jr Reign’s success in this campaign. Add in newcomer Matus Trnka, and you have a three-headed monster in between the posts for Ontario. 

A big thank you to Ontario Mayor Paul Leon for the honor of coming out for the ceremonial first puck drop, and DJ AK for helping us rock the rink at the inaugural Greek Life Night at Ontario Center Ice Arena.