In the first of eight matchups this year, the Abbotsford Canucks welcomed the Henderson Silver Knights to the Abbotsford Centre on Thursday night. The occasion marked the Canucks’ “Salute To Service” night, with the Canadian Military being honored and celebrated with a special pre-game ceremony featuring 91 year old war veteran John Molnar.

On the ice, Linus Karlsson came into this one on a hot streak, leading the team in assists (7) and points (10). Arturs Silovs would get the nod to start in goal for Abbotsford, leading the goaltending tandem with five starts this year.

Elsewhere on the lineup sheet, Brady Keeper makes his return to action, after missing one game following an injury he picked up on November 4th against Coachella Valley. Marc Gatcomb also rejoined the forward group, suiting up for the first time since October 23rd against the Firebirds.

Michael Hutchinson commanded the crease for the Silver Knights, making his fourth start of the campaign.

Hutchinson stood up to the task to open the game. In fact, both netminders were perfect through the opening 20. Despite shots sitting at 8-8 in the first intermission, neither goalie was troubled to greatly. With John Stevens being denied from in close, as well as a crushing hit by Arsh Bains, the first ended just as it had started, scoreless.

Lockwood would open the frame with a half-breakaway, but missed the target. His shot would ricochet around the boards and allow Jonas Rondjberg to have a breakaway of his own. Rondjberg would go over the glove of Silovs, giving the Knights the lead just over five minutes into the second.

Some pretty passing from Brisebois and John Stevens generated the best chance for the Canucks to tie it up, however a sprawling Hutchinson kept the home side off the board. A Danila Klimovich slapshot and some quick hands from Jett Woo also generated some opportunities.

Yet it would be Brady Keeper who got the Canucks back level. Walking in from the point, Keeper let fly a wrist shot that smacked off the underside of the cross bar and hit the back of the net. Keeper’s first as a Canuck came with six and a half minutes to go in the middle frame, and would be the final scoring action of the period.

Outshooting their opposition 20-18, including 12-10 in the second period alone, the Canucks had all of the moment going into the third.

It took more than half the frame, but they capitalized on one of their many high quality chances.

A scrambling effort in front of Hutchinson with Tristen Nielsen’s chance being denied fell to John Stevens’ stick. Without hesitation, Stevens rifled the shot over the blocker of the sliding Knights netminder to find the back of the net. The tally would be Stevens’ 100th point in the AHL, giving Abbotsford a 2-1 lead halfway through the third.

Stevens’ goal would turn out to be the difference maker, despite a flurry of late Henderson chances. The Canucks would hold on for a 2-1 victory, completing the comeback and earning themselves their fifth win on the season.

Silovs finished with 30 saves on 31 shots faced, with neither side converting on the powerplay.

“As far a splaying the whole bench, it helps a lot… it makes it easier to run your rotation. I thought for the most part we played hard, it’s just the being consistent shift to shift with our details.” – Jeremy Colliton when asked about his team staying out of the penalty box.

Up next for Abbotsford is a rematch with the Silver Knights on Saturday night, with the Canucks going for their first sweep of the season. Saturday’s match up will also be “Country Night” with performances from Chad Brownlee, Karen Lee Batten and Cambree Lovesy.

The night will also feature a South Rise Social with player autographs and $5 Budweiser beers. To secure your seats to Saturday’s game, please click HERE..

For tonight’s box score, please click HERE.