ABBOTSFORD CANUCKS VS HENDERSON SILVER KNIGHTS SERIES PREVIEW
HENDERSON, NV – After their 5-4 win against the San Diego Gulls on Wednesday night, the Abbotsford Canucks are making a pit-stop in Nevada for a two-game series against the Henderson Silver Knights on December 16th and 17th. Winning 6 out of their last 7 games, the Abbotsford Canucks sit 5th in the Pacific Division with a record of 13-8-1-1. Henderson sits 8th in the Pacific Division, currently with a 4-game win streak (10-15-0-1).
The last time the Canucks and Silver Knights went head-to-head was during a two-game homestand at the Abbotsford Centre in early November. Abbotsford split the series, kicking it off with a 2-1 win before taking a 3-2 loss on home ice.
During Abbotsford’s 2-1 win, defenceman Brady Keeper scored his first goal in 601 games after missing the 21.22 season with the Florida Panthers due to injury. Goalie Arturs Silovs recorded 30 saves and was named first star of the night. During the 3-2 loss the following night, Abbotsford recorded a franchise and season high of 45 shots on goal.
They matched those 45 shots in this past Wednesday’s 5-4 win against San Diego.
Christian Wolanin recorded a pair of assists in the previous two Canucks vs. Silver Knights match-ups. He has since recorded 20 additional assists and now leads the league in total assists with 24.
Other Abbotsford leaders include the league leader in power play goals, Lane Pederson, with 9. He also sits second in the league in goals with 17. While Pederson and Wolanin have been Abbotsford’s big names these past few weeks, Justin Dowling, Linus Karlsson, and Phil Di Giuseppe all sit at the top of Abbotsford’s leaderboards as well.
Dowling sits second on the team in assists (13) and ties Karlsson for third in team points (17 each). Karlsson sits 3rd in goals and assists for Abbotsford with 6 and 11, respectively. He also leads Abbotsford in total shots on goal with 55. Di Giuseppe is not far behind with 54 shots on goal, 20 of those attempts being in the last 5 games alone.
Despite sitting in the bottom three of the Pacific Division, Henderson is on a 4-game win streak, including a two-game series sweep against the leading team in the Pacific Division, the Colorado Eagles.
The Silver Knights trump Abbotsford in both short-handed goals with 5 (Abbotsford, 3) and penalty kill percentage. Henderson leads the division in PK% with 85.9%, compared to Abbotsford’s 73.6%. Following some injuries on Henderson’s NHL affiliate team, the Vegas Golden Knights, Henderson had 3 key players called up to fill the gap. Forward Jonas Rondbjerg and blueliners Kaedan Korczak and Brayden Pachal all made the drive north to Las Vegas on December 12th.
Rondjerg was sitting second in Henderson goals with 8 and Pachal led the team in penalty minutes with 62 (fifth in the league). It is assumed that the Silver Knights will be without these three in their match-ups against Abbotsford this weekend.
Former Abbotsford Canuck and current Silver Knight, Sheldon Rempal, dominated Abbotsford’s leaderboard last season. He led Abby in points with 69, assists with 36, and second in goals with 33. Rempal has not recorded a goal against Abbotsford thus far, and only has one assist against his old team. He currently leads Henderson in points with 19 and assists with 13.
Other Henderson leaders include Gage Quinney leading the team in goals with 9 and Byron Froese with 5 goals and 64 shots on goal.
Both Abbotsford and Henderson had players featured on Wednesday’s AHL Three Stars of the Night. Lane Pederson was named the first star (3 G, 1A), and Henderson’s Laurent Broissot was named the third star (30 save shutout).
Pederson was named Second Star of the Game in Abbotsford’s Wednesday night match-up against San Diego.
Broissot’s 5-0 shutout on Wednesday night was his 10th career shutout, and first of this season.
Henderson goalies Laurent Broissot and Jiri Patera have save percentages of 0.910% and 0.906%, respectively. The two have split the season so far equally, with 11 and 12 games played, respectively.
Abbotsford’s Silovs has started 7 of the last 8 games, with 6 consecutives starts. Last week’s 7-0 win against Manitoba was his second career shutout, and Abbotsford’s first of the season.
Abbotsford’s Will Lockwood has 10 goals so far this season, sitting second for in goals for Abbotsford. Lockwood recorded only 9 goals in 46 games last season.
After this weekend, the two teams will see each other 4 more times. Abbotsford will be hosting Henderson on January 6th and 7th for their first home games of the new year.