ABBOTSFORD CANUCKS COMPLETE SAN JOSE SWEEP ; DEFEAT BARRACUDA 6-3
For the final time in 2022, the Abbotsford Canucks took to the ice at the Abbotsford Centre in a Wednesday night clash against the San Jose Barracuda. Fresh off of a 6-2 victory on Tuesday night, Abbotsford looked to sweep their first pair of games against the San Jose Sharks AHL affiliate this season.
Jack Rathbone and Alex Kannok Leipert both made their returns to the Canucks’ lineup, while fellow defenceman Christian Wolanin entered the game elading the AHL in assists (28) and third in total scoring.
Collin Delia made his first appearance in the Abbotsford net since November 30th, after a stint in Vancouver as well as welcoming a new baby boy last week. Across from Delia would be Eetu Makiniemi, who sat behind Aaron Dell on Tuesday.
Makiniemi was looking for his team-leading seventh win, while Delia held a 5-3-0-0 record heading into Wednesday night. The puck was soon dropped after the national anthems were sung, and the final Canucks’ home game of 2022 was underway.
Just over halfway through the frame, the Barracuda captain would put the visitors ahead via a deflection on a Darren Brady wrist shot from the point. Andrew Agozzino tipped home his tenth of the season, and San Jose held a 1-0 lead for the first time in 14 games.
That lead would last for just over three minutes, when Vasily Podkolzin broke forward on the penalty kill with a burst of speed. Barreling down the right wing, Podkolzin saucered the puck over to Phil Di Giuseppe, who buried his second goal in as many nights to tie the game up at one.
The Barracuda would grab one late in the frame to put themselves back ahead, courtesy of Max Veronneau’s first of the season as he jumped on a loose puck in a scramble in front of Delia. The tally gave San Jose the 2-1 lead, which they would hold on to until the two sides split for the locker rooms for the first intermission.
San Jose outshot Abbotsford 14-10 in the opening frame, while Di Giuseppe’s goal was credited to a five-on-five goal since the penalty expired one second prior to the goal. Regardless, the Canucks trailed and found themselves in need of a spark.
It may not have tied the game, but Delia played a bug hand in keeping it a one goal deficit. Four minutes into the second, the Barracuda broke forward on a 3-on-1. Some quick passing around Delia forced Jeffrey Viel to take the shot, which was stopped by a fully stretched pad of Delia.
Danil Guschin would have a chance to extend the lead for the Barracuda, as in the midst of a flurry in front of Delia, the San Jose rookie let a shot fly that clattered against the post before it was inevitably cleared down the ice.
Then, the Canucks would receive their much needed spark in the form of veteran Justin Dowling. After keeping the puck in at the line, Di Giuseppe played the puck through to Dowling in front of goal. A patient finish saw Makiniemi bite at the first move before roofing the puck into the back of the net to tie the game at two.
The tying goal came with six minutes to go in the second, with Will Lockwood following up quickly after as well.
Collecting a cross-ice pass from Noah Juulsen, Lockwood took the puck across the blue line, danced around a Barracuda defender and went top shelf over the shoulder of the San Jose netminder. Lockwood’s 12th of the season came with three and a half minutes remaining in the second, and put Abbotsford ahead 3-2 after forty minutes.
It would take four minutes into the final frame for the Canucks to extend their lead furthermore. Jack Rathbone collected the puck at the blue line, and through a maze of bodies, his wrist shot beat the blocker of Makiniemi. Rathbone’s first of the year pushed the score to 4-2 in favour of the hosts Canucks.
Abbotsford put the game to sleep in the final minutes with a pair of empty net goals from Chase Wouters and Linus Karlsson, marking their third and sixth of the year respectively. San Jose would grab one back in the final minute but that would be as close as it would get for the Barracuda as Abbotsford finished up 6-3 winners.
Delia finished off with 31 saves and a .911 save percentage, while three Canucks put up multi-point performances.
To view the full box score, click HERE.
Up next for the Canucks is their winter break, followed by a pair of back-to-back games in both Manitoba and Calgary to close out 2022 and open 2023. Then Abbotsford returns to the Abbotsford Centre on January 6th for a pair of games against the Henderson Silver Knights.
To purchase tickets to an upcoming Abbotsford Canucks game, click HERE.