ABBOTSFORD CANUCKS HELD OFF BY FIREBIRDS IN 3-1 LOSS
In their fourth and final meeting of the year, the Abbotsford Canucks and Coachella Valley Firebirds took to the ice on Saturday night to conclude what has been a high-scoring season series. A combined 25 goals were scored in the last three games, most recently a 5-2 Abbotsford victory on Friday night.
Heading into Saturday’s matchup, Will Lockwood has dominated the headlines, scoring five goals in his past three games. Linus Karlsson has made a name for himself as well, registering a team high seven assists and ten points in his rookie campaign. Saturday’s lineup would look pretty similar to Friday’s, minus two changes.
Alex Kannok Leipert joined the starting lineups in place of Brady Keeper, and Berk Berkeliev of Trinity Western Univeristy was signed to an ATO to back-up Arturs Silovs, with no Collin Delia in the lineup.
Shane Starrett got the start for the Firebirds, making his first appearance so far this season with any AHL organization. After the national anthems and starting lineups were announced, the frozen biscuit was dropped and the game was underway.
It would take over eight minutes into the game for either Silovs or Starrett to be tested, with a John Hayden wrist shot being steered aside by Silovs. Will Lockwood would have a pair of chances to open the scoring however both were denied by Starrett.
Kole Lind would take it upon himself to get the scoring started, firing home from the right faceoff circle, making it 1-0 Firebirds late in the first period.
A closely fought opening frame ended up 1-0 in favour of the visitors, with shots favouring Coachella Valley 6-5 as well.
It would be another tight battle for the entirety of the second period, with neither side budging an inch. At least until the final 13 seconds.
Kole Lind once again struck paydirt for Coachella Valley, who capitalized on the powerplay for the second time on the night. That would be the final action of the period, ending 2-0 Firebirds after an evenly balanced 40 minutes. Abbotsford lead the shot count 15-12, with nine coming in the middle frame.
Lockwood connected with Linus Kalrsson and the rest of the powerplay unit, however his effort would sail just wide of the post in the early moments of the third. Starrett would stand tall to all of Abbotsford’s efforts, until 9 minutes left in the game.
Wyatt Kalynuk linked up with Yushiroh Hirano down the left boards, with Hirano’s shot taking a deflection of the skate of a defending Firebird. The puck fell to Justin Dowling who’s quick hands opened up space for him to slide home the puck between the legs of Starrett.
However that would be as close as it would get for Abbotsford, with Lind burying an empty net goal to complete his hat-trick in the final minute.
Despite outshooting their opponents 20-16, Abbotsford would end up falling short in their comeback effort, marking a 3-1 victory for the Firebirds.
"I don't think there was that much of a difference tonight. I would have liked us to play a little quicker, more direct... we did at times and I think those were our best moments." - Jeremy Colliton when asked what the difference was between the two teams.
Up next for Abbotsford will be the final two games of their six game home stand, featuring Thursday and Saturday night games against the Henderson Silver Knights. Both games get underway at 7:00pm from the Abbotsford Centre, with Thursday being the team’s “Salute to Service Night”, while Saturday is “Country Night”. To purchase tickets for those games, click HERE.
Tonight’s full box score is available HERE.