ABBOTSFORD CANUCKS HOLD OFF ROCKET, DEFEAT LAVAL 3-2
The Abbotsford Canucks made their way back to Place Bell for the second time in seven days for a rematch with the Laval Rocket on Wednesday night. The two sides met on Wednesday November 16, with Laval pulling out the 4-2 victory last week.
Making his return to the Abbotsford lineup was Quebec native Vincent Arseneau, who made his first appearance in seven games in a Canucks sweater. Collin Delia has been featured a lot in this eastern road trip, who made his third start in the last four games on Wednesday.
Christian Wolanin has also been an important figure in the last stretch of games for Abbotsford, riding a five-game assist streak. During that span, the blueliner has registered eight assists, helping him lead the team with ten through the opening 13 games.
In goal for the Rocket would be Cayden Primeau, who has picked up wins in just two of his last eight starts. Primeau would be tested early in this one, as the puck dropped and the second of four meetings between the two teams was underway.
Abbotsford were flying offensively, starting the game by outshooting Laval 6-1 through the opening 11 minutes. A Lane Pederson chance would be as close as the Canucks got in the opening frame, with his shot being turned away by the blocker of Primeau.
Apart from a long range shots and a cross crease save on Brandon Gignac by Delia, the first period provided little to write home about for either side.
The second period would follow suit. At least for the first 20 seconds or so.
Following a defensive zone faceoff, the puck squeaked past the blue line and Tristen Nielsen found himself chasing the puck through the neutral zone. Phil Di Giuseppe and Guillaume Brisebois followed suit, setting up a 3-on-1 against a Rocket defender.
Nielsen brought the puck close to Primeau before sending it across the crease to Di Giuseppe. A second centering pass found the puck on Brisebois’ stick, who finished the breakaway chance and tallied his first goal of the season. 26 seconds into the frame, Abbotsford lead 1-0.
Just over two minutes later, the game would be tied once again. Following a Brady Keeper holding penalty, the Rocket powerplay got to work. Rem Pitlick played the puck back to the point to Justin Barron. Barron let fly a slapshot which found it’s way past Delia behind a screen, and the game would be tied at one.
The game would stay tied until the midway point of the second. Enter Will Lockwood.
John Stevens muscled the puck back to the point in the Laval zone, finding Wolanin at the blue line. Wolanin would shoot a wrist shot through traffic towards Primeau, with Tristen Nielsen and Lockwood in front of goal.
Lockwood would get the deflection, steering the puck into the net for his sixth goal of the season. The assist from Wolanin would improve his count to 11 on the year, and nine in his last six games. Lockwood’s tally would come on the powerplay, with Mitchell Stephens looking on from the penalty box due to his tripping penalty.
It seemed as though that would be the last score of the period, until Lane Pederson jumped on a backhand pass from Kyle Rau in the neutral zone. Pederson took the puck with a burst of speed, cut through the middle of two Rocket defenceman and buried Abbotsford’s third of the night with a nice move over Primeau.
The marker would be Pederson’s sixth in his last five games, and seventh of the year. The goal came with just over 90 seconds remaining in the second, sending the teams to the dressing rooms with a 3-1 score line favouring the visiting Canucks.
Michael Regush and Linus Karlsson had a pair of high quality chances on the rush midway through the third period, however Primeau would keep the Rocket within two.
Boosted by a strong defensive performance, the Rocket would soon make it a one goal game. Jessi Ylonen threw the puck towards Delia from a tight angle along the boards with traffic in front. Part of that traffic was Peter Abbandonato, who deflected the shot over the shoulder of Delia.
Abbotsford’s lead was cut to 3-2 with 4:48 remaining in the third.
The Canucks survived a late surge from Laval to hold on and secure the 3-2 road victory, pulling their record on this eastern road trip to 2-2-0-0 through four of six games. Delia finished the night with 25 saves, and recording his fourth win of the season.
Up next for Abbotsford is a pair of games against the Calgary Wranglers in Calgary on Friday and Sunday morning. Both games get underway at 12:00pm pacific, and can be streamed on AHLTV.
For tonight’s full box score, please click HERE.