ABBOTSFORD CANUCKS VS COACHELLA VALLEY FIREBIRDS PREVIEW
The Abbotsford Canucks wrap up their three game road trip on Tuesday night with a visit to Coachella Valley to take on the Firebirds. The game marks the first ever visit for Abbotsford to Acrisure Arena, and is the opening game of an eight game season series.
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Abbotsford comes into the contest tied for third in the AHL, as well as second in the Pacific Division. They have won three of their last four contests, sweeping the Colorado Eagles at home before defeating the San Diego Gulls 5-2 on Friday and falling in Ontario to the Reign on Sunday.
Coachella Valley has started their Western Conference title defence with a 3-2-0-0 start, including a pair of wins against San Jose on Saturday and Sunday, outscoring the Barracuda 13-6 in the process. The Firebirds are yet to record a home victory this season, with their only two games at Acrisure Arena resulting in 3-2 loss to Bakersfield and a 1-0 loss to Ontario.
Leading the charge for Abbotsford have been Arshdeep Bains and Christian Wolanin, who are tied for first with each other atop the AHL’s scoring leaderboards. Bains has picked up three goals and 10 assists, while Wolanin has registered one goal and 12 assists, while also managing to pick up a point in all eight games to start the season. Sheldon Dries rounds out the top three scorers with eight points (3G, 5A), while Vasily Podkolzin is the top goal scorer on the roster with five goals.
Marian Studenic leads Coachella Valley in points with six (2G, 4A), with Max McCormick just behind him with five points (2G, 3A). Shane Wright, Kole Lind, Ryan Winterton, Andrew Poturalski and Cameron Hughes have all picked up four points this year, with Wright holding the team lead for goals with three. The most recent of those came in Overtime against the Barracuda on Sunday.
The Canucks’ 34 goals scored is the most in the AHL, averaging 4.25 goals a game, with seven of those goals coming on the powerplay. Coachella’s 52 penalty minutes is the second fewest in the AHL so far, and have been shorthanded the fewest amount of times (13). When the Firebirds are on the penalty kill, they have been hard to beat, given their 92.3% penalty kill percentage (third best in the AHL).
In between the pipes this year has been Chris Dreidger and Ales Stezka for the Firebirds. Driedger started the first four games, going 2-2 and registering a 1.52 GAA with a shutout in the process. Stezka started the most recent Coachella Valley game, giving up four goals and making 31 saves in an Overtime victory.
For Abbotsford, Artūrs Šilovs and Nikita Tolopilo have been the tandem in the Canuck crease to start the year. Šilovs has gone 3-1-1, and is tied for third in the AHL for wins. Meanwhile Tolopilo has gone 2-1-0, with a 2.65 Goals Against Average. The pair have combined for a .897 save percentage, with Šilovs picking up his first career AHL point with an assist on Linus Karlsson’s goal on October 25th.
Following Tuesday’s game, the Canucks will return home for a four game home stand where they’ll face the Henderson Silver Knights on November 3rd and 4th (Diwali Night), and the Bakersfield Condors on November 9th and 11th. Following those four games, Abbotsford will hit the road once again for a pair of games in Henderson and then a pair in Calgary to round out the month of November.
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