ABBOTSFORD CANUCKS SEASON COMES TO AN END IN 3-2 DEFEAT TO CALGARY
The Pacific Division Semi-Finals continued in Abbotsford on Friday night, as the Canucks squared off with the Calgary Wranglers in Game 4 from the Abbotsford Centre. Trailing 2-1 in the Best-Of-Five series, Abbotsford needed a win or else Calgary would advance to the divison final.
Michael Regush returned to the Abbotsford line up, slotting in at centre between Arshdeep Bains and Danila Klimovich. Spencer Martin was between the pipes once again, marking his first time making consecutive starts since early March. Dustin Wolf made his fourth start of the series for Calgary.
Abbotsford would jump out of the gates and get off to a dream start, coming from talisman Nils Höglander. Just over two minutes in, Jack Rathbone rattled the puck off of the cross bar from the left faceoff circle in front of Wolf. The puck fell to Höglander who collected the puck from mid air before burying the puck past a sprawling Wolf to open the scoring.
The Swede’s third goal of the playoffs and first of the series came 2:18 into the contest.
Abbotsford continued their pressure, but Calgary would later equalize against the run of play. Cole Schwindt was sitting in the faceoff circle on the man advantage when Connor Zary fed him the puck. Schwindt squeaked the puck between Martin and the post, levelling the game at 12:51 of the first period.
Schwindt’s first of the series would send the two sides into the locker rooms tied at 1-1, with Abbotsford outshooting Calgary 12-8 at the first intermission.
It would take some time, but the Canucks would regain their lead late in the second period, as Christian Wolanin and Zach Giuttari broke forward. The two blueliners showed some quick passing as they crossed the Calgary blue line, before Wolanin slid the puck over to Tristen Nielsen along the boards.
Nielsen would fire the puck first time and just beat a sliding Wolf to the near post. Nielsen’s second goal of the series came with 4:27 remaining in the middle frame, giving Abbotsford the 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. Once again the Canucks outshot the Wranglers in the period, leading the total shot count 19-14 at the second intermission.
For the second time in as many games, the Wranglers would grab the first goal of the third period, this time levelling the game at 2-2. Off of a quick face off win, Ilya Solvyov fired a shot that beat Spencer Martin, and setting up an exciting final 11:31of the third period.
Just over four minutes later, Adam Klapka put the Wranglers ahead as a mad scramble occurred in front of Martin’s crease. Through a maze of bodies, the puck trickled into the Abbotsford goal, making it a 3-2 Wranglers lead with 7:19 remaining in the contest.
Klapka’s goal would turn out to be the goal to push Calgary over the edge, as the Canucks’ couldn’t find an equalizier. Calgary would wind up taking the game 3-2, eliminating Abbotsford from the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Adam Klapka’s goal was his second of the series, with the first coming in Game 1. Dustin Wolf stopped 23 of the 25 Abbotsford efforts on the night, while Spencer Martin denied 21 of Calgary’s 24 shots.
To view the full AHL box score, please click HERE.
With the result, Calgary advances on to the Pacific Division Final where they will face Coachella Valley Firebirds. Abbotsford’s historic second season came to a close, falling 3-1 in the Best-Of-Five series.