Abbotsford Canucks complete comeback in 3-2 victory against Bakersfield
In May, the Calder Cup Playoffs featured a match-up of two fierce Pacific Division rivals. The Abbotsford Canucks traveled to Bakersfield to face the Condors in their first ever playoff series. A pair of close games decided by one goal lead to the Condors moving on, and the Canucks inaugural season crashing to a close. Over five months later, Abbotsford would be given the chance to exact their revenge on Saturday night at Mechanics Bank Arena.
Following their 8-2 defeat at the hands of the Ontario Reign on Friday, Saturday’s clash provided an opportunity for Abbotsford to find themselves in the win column for the first time this season. Arturs Silovs would record his first start of the year, however he also was featured for the final few minutes of Friday’s game as well. Carson Focht would also make his first appearance of the season, with Justin Dowling making way for Focht.
Bakersfield came into Saturday night making their first showing of the season, with the game being their home opener in front of their fans. However stats were not favourable for the birds as Bakersfield had only converted one of their previous twenty powerplay opportunities against Abbotsford. The Canucks also came into this one winning four consecutive regular season games against the Condors.
The home side jumped out to the faster start, with Michael Kesselring taken a well placed pass and firing one over the glove of Silovs. The goal seven minutes in wouldn’t be the only tally in the frame, with Bakersfield improving on their powerplay statistics via a Dino Kambeitz slapshot.
That 2-0 score line wouldn’t hold up for long, as Danila Klimovich took the puck from Tristen Nielsen and ripped off a shot from the left boards. Calvin Pickard made the initial pad save, however Vincent Arseneau grabbed his first of the campaign on the rebound to cut the deficit to 1.
It would remain 2-1 heading into the first intermission, despite a John Stevens goal being called back due to it being just after the clock had run out for the period. Shots were 12-11 in favour of the Canucks, with each side taking just one penalty.
Abbotsford wouldn’t wait too before tying the game at two, in fact it would only take 1:50 into the middle frame. Carson Focht had his initial effort blocked, before letting go a fierce wrist shot that flew past Pickard and into the Condors goal. Nielsen and Brady Keeper would register the assists. Play slowed down afterwards, however that didn’t stop Silovs from making a handful of key saves late in the frame, including robbing Phillip Kemp with his glove in the final minutes.
After 40 minutes, it would end up 2-2 with Abbotsford outshooting the Condors 21-20, with each team scoring once on the man advantage.
The 3rd continued the pattern of a closely checked contest, with neither team showing signs of budging. Abbotsford managed to kill off a 5 on 3 powerplay with Silovs producing some quality saves with two men short. An end to end final few minutes proved no luck in finding a winner, so the game was forced into three-on-three overtime. After Pickard made a miraculous save to keep the game alive, no more than a minute later he would prove to be his own enemy.
Following a glove save, Pickard attempted to throw the puck from the web of his glove to start a rush going the other way. However Linus Karlsson picked off the pass, out-waited the Condors netminder, and buried his first AHL goal to seal the comeback victory for the Canucks.
Abbotsford outshot Bakersfield 37-27 across the whole night, with Silovs putting up a .925 save percentage. Up next for Abbotsford, the team will fly home before heading to Seattle for Friday’s clash with the Coachella Valley Firebirds.
For tonight’s full AHL box score, please click HERE.