Ontario Reign win third straight, Alex Turcotte new winger?

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The Ontario Reign have won three consecutive games in large part to defensive improvements and Alex Turcotte being moved to the wing.

The Ontario Reign won their third consecutive game, a dominating 5-1 score over the Tucson Roadrunners on Tuesday night. Ontario scored the game’s first four goals before Tucson responded with their lone goal of the night. Arthur Kaliyev, Rasmus Kupari, Boko Imama, Quinton Byfield, and Mikey Eyssimont tallied the visitors’ goals.

Of course, Imama was on Gordie Howe hat trick watch after this fight.

After a difficult 1-10-2 start, the Reign made some defensive adjustments to have better gap control, and it’s been working during the team’s three-game win streak.

“I think this week, we really concentrated on our defenseman having better gap control,” Reign head coach John Wroblewski said following Sunday’s 4-2 win over Henderson. “And while we were yielding too many odd-man rushes, we felt like there was a number of them that our D man could [have] nullified by just being slightly more patient.”

Over their last three games, the Reign have surrendered an average of two goals per game, which has been a remarkable improvement from the previous 13 games of the season. Lopsided score after lopsided score while the Reign really struggled to get anything going offensively as a team. Over the same span, the Ontario Reign have scored an average of 4.7 goals in their last three contests.

A big reason for that has been Alex Turcotte moving from center to the wing.

“We had that top line of Turcotte and Kupari and Kaliyev that were a threat every time they jumped over the wall, and when you have that, that one line, that’s a threat, that has the other team on their heels, it certainly lets the other guys play a little bit freer and back that other team down ever so slightly and everyone else responded accordingly,” Wroblewski explained.

The former fifth overall pick in 2019 recently returned from injury and has generally been believed to be a future NHL center. However, because the LA Kings are so deep up the middle, we knew some centers would be forced to the wing.

Next. Fagemo should be next prospect to debut. dark

We just didn’t expect Turcotte to be one of them.

Turcotte tallied his first professional goal on Sunday and collected an assist on Kupari’s goal on Tuesday night. It’ll be interesting to see if Ontario continues to play Turcotte along the wing and if that carries over at the NHL level. Something to monitor going forward.

The Ontario Reign and Tucson Roadrunners finish their two-game set on Wednesday, with puck drop set for 6:30 pm PST.