Reign dominate Barracuda from start to finish in 7-1 win

The Ontario Reign swept a two game series on back to back nights on Thu Jan 27, 2022 for the second night a six goal win over the hosts San Jose Barracuda at SAP Center in San Jose (image by the San Jose Barracuda)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE — When a team is rolling, there’s nothing you can do about it.

The high-speed bullet train known as the Ontario Reign continued its remarkable season with a 7-1 onslaught over the San Jose Barracuda on Thursday evening at SAP Center.

San Jose has lost five of its past six games. Ontario is 8-0-1-1 in its past 10 games as they swept the two-game series at the Shark Tank.

Ontario (22-6-3-2) drew first blood in the first minute of the first period. T.J. Tynan made a drop pass to Martin Frk along the right wing and Frk fired a wrist shot to the far side past ‘Cuda goalie Alexei Melnichuk for his 19th goal of the season at the 1:05 mark. Frk is tied for first in goal in the AHL.

The Reign didn’t need much time to double its leads. 54 seconds later Sameul Fagemo centered a pass out to Gabriel Vilardi and the Los Angeles Kings former first round draft pick buried a wrist shot top shelf for his ninth goal of the season at the 1:59 mark.

Vilardi has scored a goal in all three games against San Jose this season.

San Jose (14-21-1-0) responded when Evan Weinger won a race to the puck near the goal line. Weinger centered a pass from the behind the end line out to Scott Reedy, who sniped home a wrist shot past Reign goalie Matthew Villalta to the short side for his team leading 18th goal of the season at the 12:26 mark.

The Barracuda had two-on-zero short-handed scoring chance in the opening minute of the second period. Weinger and John Leonard had a chance to even the game, but both of their attempts were stoned away by Villalta.

“We had our opportunities, they had theirs, they finished in the two games here,” said ‘Cuda head coach Roy Sommer. “They outscored us 11-2. We hit a couple of posts but it’s just not enough.”

Ontario regained their two-goal lead past the halfway mark of the second period. Aiden Dudas fired a shot a net that bounced out into the middle off a save by Melnichuk. Austin Wagner cleaned up the rebound for his eighth goal of the season at the 11:05 mark.

The Reign padded their lead early in the third period. Tyler Madden sent a pass to Helge Grans along the right wing. The 19-year-old defenseman rifled home a wrist shot past Melnichuk for his fourth goal of the season at the 3:45 mark.

Ontario scored its fifth goal of the game on the power play at the halfway mark of the period. Tynan set up Vilardi in the slot and Vilardi blasted a one-timer past Melnichuk for his second goal of the game and 10th of the season at the 10:50 mark.

The Reign kept their foot on the gas pedal with a two-goal scoring burst in a 50 second span. Tynan scored his eighth of the season at the 14:14 mark and then Fagemo got in on the scoring party with his 11th of the season at the 15:04 mark.

“In the third it was kind of like man…it was one of those things where they kept shooting and it was going in,” Sommer said.

Villata finished a brilliant performance stopping 39 of the 40 shots he faced. Melnichuk had a night (especially in the third period) he would like to forget as he made 21 saves on 28 shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished 0-for-5 on the power play. Ontario was 1-for-3.

The Three Stars of the Game were: 1) Vilardi 2) Tynan 3) Fagemo

Veteran Reign forward Brett Sutter played in his 1000th professional hockey game. He recorded an assist on Tynan’s goal.

Ontario is 15-3-2-1 when they score the game’s first goal.

UP NEXT: San Jose and Ontario battled it on Monday 1/31 at 7:00pm at Toyota Arena.

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