Four takeaways from the 5-4 win against Henderson


The Ontario Reign didn't play their best game, but held off a Silver Knights comeback with a goal in the third period.

Target breakdown

First period:

ONT: Carl Grundstrom (1), ASST: Samuel Fagemo (18), TJ Tynan (54)

ONT: Jacob Doty (6), ASST: Samuel Helenius (9), Cole Krygier (10)

ONT: Brandt Clarke (9), ASST: Alex Turcotte (18)

HSK: SH Jett Jones (2), ASST: Daniel D'Amato (8)

ONT: Hayden Hodgson (6), ASST: Carl Grundstrom (1)

Second period:

HSK: Grigori Denisenko (19), ASST: None

HSK: PP Ryan Dzingel (4), ASST: Dysin Mayo (18), Matthieu Cataford (2)

HSK: Byron Froese (12), ASST: None

Third period:

ONT: Andre Lee (8), ASST: Samuel Helenius (10), Wyatte Wylie (11)



ONT: 5

HSK: 4


ONT: 24

HSK: 30

Power games:

ONT: 0/3

HSK: 1/5

Here are the four takeaways from Saturday's 5-4 win

Carl Grundstrom begins his conditioning task

Carl Grundstrom returned to Ontario for the first game of his conditioning assignment. It was his first game in the AHL since March 7, 2020. Grundstrom scored on his first shot of the game, a soft shot from the left circle that was tapped in by Henderson goaltender Isaiah Saville to give the Reign a 1-0 lead .

Grundstrom also provided an initial assist on Hayden Hodgson's goal, giving the Reign a 4-1 lead at 8:47 of the first period. Head coach Marco Sturm also used the 1.80 meter tall striker in the second power play unit and in the penalty shootout. Overall, Grundstrom had a solid game on the forecheck and used his speed rushing down the wing. Playing in some games with the Reign will help him prepare for the playoffs, where the Kings can use him on the fourth line. After all, he has had some solid performances in the playoffs, most notably in Game 4 of LA's first-round series against the Edmonton Oilers in 2022.

I guess you could say he had a Swedish gig, right?

Sixty minutes is longer than ten minutes

In the first ten minutes, Reign dictated the game and tempo and scored four goals on their first six shots on goal. The Silver Knights then took control for most of the remaining 50 minutes, scoring one shorthanded goal in the first period and three goals in the midfield. The Reign have played some great hockey over the last month, but eight of their last nine wins have been decided by a goal, with four of those wins coming in overtime or penalties. That's great, but last night's game shouldn't have ended. Performances like yesterday will not be acceptable given the upcoming playoffs and a possible back-to-back scenario (in the same building) in the first round. The focus should be on playing a 60-minute game in these last three games and not letting up on multiple goals.

Andre Lee scores the game-winning goal

Andre Lee scored four goals on his return and they all came at the right time. The Reign only recorded three shots on goal in the final period, one of which ended up in the net. The shot that reached the back of the net was a shot from the blue line by Wyatte Wylie that was redirected twice and rolled from right field by Jesper Vikman, who replaced Saville in the net in the first period. The first redirect came from Samuel Helenius, then Lee got the second redirect from Vikman. It was Lee's first game-winning goal of the season as he continues to provide second-place finishes. The third line of him, Helenius and Jacob Doty has provided a spark on the forecheck and scoresheet lately, earning Sturm's trust. The trio scored four points together.

Erik Portillo starts both consecutive games

After Friday's game, Sturm said the goalie rotation would change as he wants to have a number one goalie for the playoffs. When asked another question about whether he had any idea who that goalkeeper could be, he mentioned Erik Portillo by name in hopes that he can grab that spot, but also said that anything could change or happen. To prepare him to potentially be the number one goalie in the playoffs, Sturm said he would start last night and was true to his word. Portillo made 26 saves on 30 shots. With the win, Portillo recorded his 23rd victory, tying the Reign's record for wins by a rookie goaltender in AHL history (Cal Petersen in 2017-18).

The Reign had a 20-9 lead in the final 40 minutes and he had to make big saves. The first goal he conceded in the second half is one he would probably like to have back when it was over. It's hard to blame him for the rest of the game, as the Reign were heavily outplayed and had a few turnovers that led to goals. Otherwise, I thought he had a decent game and came up big several times in the third period, most notably on the penalty kill late in the game to keep Reign ahead on the scoreboard. You want moments like that from your goalkeeper in the playoffs. Timely saving when needed.


*With the win, the Ontario Reign secured home field advantage in the first round of the postseason.

*Erik Portillo started back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 20 and 21, when the Reign traveled to Abbotsford to play the Canuck.

*Brandt Clarke scored his ninth goal of the season. It was his 10th point in seven games against Henderson this year. He has accumulated up to 42 points in 47 games. He leads all qualified rookie defensemen with 0.89 points per game. Right behind him is Olen Zellweger, a young player for the Anaheim Ducks, with 0.84.

*Hayden Hodgson picked up his third point in his last five games.

*Jacob Doty scored his sixth goal of the year.

*Grigori Denisenko scored his eighth point against the Reign this season.

NEXT: The Ontario Reign are returning to California but will still be on the road. They will be in Bakersfield to face the Condors on Wednesday, April 10th. The game begins at 6:30 p.m. PT and can be seen on AHLTV.

Photo credit: Henderson Silver Knights