ABBOTSFORD CANUCKS PUT SIX PAST CONDORS IN 6-3 VICTORY
The Abbotsford Canucks kicked off their six game homestand on Tuesday night in their first of two games in as many nights against the Bakersfield Condors. Tuesday’s game was part of Abbotsford’s “Hockey Fights Cancer” initiative, a campaign spanning the entire NHL and AHL.
Making their Abbotsford season debuts were Jack Rathbone and Vasily Podkolzin, who each were part of the Abbotsford squad last season in their playoff series against the Condors. Christian Wolanin entered the contest one game shy of tying Abbotsford’s franchise record point streak of nine games.
Arturs Silovs would get the nod in net, making it consecutive starts for the Latvian netminder for the fifth time this season. Ryan Fanti would command the crease for Bakersfield, searching for his first win of the season in his second start.
The game also saw the return of Justin Bailey and Adam Brubacher to the Abbotsford Centre, both of whom spent part of Abbotsford’s inaugural season with the Canucks.
The puck dropped from the Abbotsford Centre and Abbotsford’s homestand was underway.
A closely fought opening period ended the same way it started, tied up at zero. Abbotsford outshot the Condors 13-7 in the first, with Danila Klimovich having the best chance of the bunch to open the scoring on a failed clearance attempt from Bakersfield.
Christian Wolanin had a great chance early in the second, taking a stretch feed from Noah Juulsen down the left wing. Wolanin’s shot tried to find it’s way over Fanti’s shoulder, but the goaltender kept the game scoreless.
It wouldn’t stay that way for much longer, as Abbotsford struck on the man advantage just before the midway mark of the period. Christian Wolanin fed team-leading goal scorer Lane Pederson for his eight of the year. The one-timer soared past Fenti’s sprawling blocker and opened the scoring.
It looked like the teams would be separated by the one goal heading into the second intermission, until Wolanin picked out a streaking Kyle Rau down the left boards. Rau took the pass in stride and was joined by Pederson on a two-on-one bearing down on Fanti.
An inch-perfect pass from Rau found Pederson for his second of the period and ninth of the year, doubling Abbotsford’s lead in the final two minutes of the second. But they weren’t done there.
A John Stevens shot from the corner troubled Fanti, with the rebounding causing a flurry in the crease. Both Will Lockwood and Rau whacked at the puck, with Rau getting the final touch. Kyle Rau’s third of the year was Abbotsford’s third of the period, and sent the home side to the locker room up 3-0 after forty minutes.
Opening up the third period, the Condors came roaring back, as three goals in the opening five minutes tied the game up at 3. Goals from Kesselring, Griffith and Tullio brought Bakersfield back level, and presented an exciting third period to those that made the drive through the snow to the Abbotsford Centre.
No more than 30 seconds after Tullio levelled the game, Danila Klimovich re-established the Abbotsford lead and they never looked back. A beautiful drag move on a 2-on-1 with Bains with the finish over the glove of Fanti put Abbotsford ahead 4-3.
Two minutes later, Vincent Arseneau was on the receiving end of a cross crease pass from Pederson, steering home “Big Vinny’s” second of the year. The Quebec native promised cancer survivor Mitch Head, who had spent the day with the team and dropped the puck to begin the night, that he would score for him. Arseneau followed through on that promise.
Fanti would soon be pulled to give Bakersfield the extra attacker, however it would be Vasily Podkolzin burying the game with an empty netter in the final seconds, securing a deserved 6-3 win for Abbotsford.
The shots finished 35-19 in favour of the Canucks, while going 2/2 on the powerplay as well. For tonight’s full box score, click HERE.
Next up for the Canucks is a rematch with the Condors on Wednesday night, with the puck dropping at 7:00pm from the Abbotsford Centre. Wednesday’s game will mark the second of a six game homestand for Abbotsford, featuring Teddy Bear Toss on Saturday December 3rd. To purchase tickets to upcoming games, click HERE.