ABBOTSFORD CANUCKS VS HENDERSON SILVER KNIGHTS SERIES PREVIEW
The Abbotsford Canucks return home this weekend for a pair of games against the Henderson Silver Knights on Friday and Saturday night. The two matchups will be the first of eight meetings between the two sides this season.
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The two sides enter the weekend in the top two places of the Pacific Division, with Henderson (6-2-0-0) in a tie for the league lead with 12 points. Abbotsford (5-3-1-0), are tied for third in the AHL with 11 points, and tied for second in the division with the Calgary Wranglers.
The Silver Knights started off their season with four consecutive wins, sweeping both the Iowa Wild on the road, and the San Jose Barracuda at home. Losing in Bakersfield 5-1 and to Ontario 4-1, Henderson are coming off of a 4-2 victory against the San Diego Gulls. This weekend will be the first two games of a four game road trip for Henderson, which pits the Vegas affiliate against the Colorado Eagles on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Abbotsford have had a busy start to their season, playing in nine games in a 19 day stretch, the most by any team so far this campaign. The Canucks are coming off the back of a busy road trip, which saw them play in San Diego, Ontario, and Coachella Valley in a five day span. The team opened their California road trip with a 5-2 win in San Diego, before falling to the Reign and Firebirds.
Having scored 37 goals so far this season, enough for the most in the AHL, Abbotsford have been lead by second year forward Arshdeep Bains. Picking up three goals and 12 assists, Bains’ 15 points is the most in the AHL, and is currently riding a six game point streak. Defenceman Christian Wolanin sits second in the league in scoring, with one goal and 12 assists, while Sheldon Dries is tied for seventh in the league with 10 points (4G, 6A).
Former Canuck Sheldon Rempal leads Henderson in goals (5) and is tied with Grigori Denisenko for points (9). Gage Quinney tops the charts for Silver Knights assists with six, while Rempal and Byron Froese have each tallied a team-high two powerplay goals each.
Between the pipes for Henderson this season has been a combination of Jiri Patera and rookie Jesper Vikman. Vikman, who is undefeated this season with a record of 3-0-0, holds a goals against average of 2.63, and combines with Patera for a save percentage of .893. For the Canucks, it has been Artūrs Šilovs and Nikita Tolopilo who have shared the crease so far. Combined, the pair have registered a .886 save percentage, with Šilovs going 3-1-1 as a starter.
Following this weekend’s games, Abbotsford will stay in the Fraser Valley for a week as they face the Bakersfield Condors on Thursday and Saturday nights next week. The team then hits the road for a pair of games in Henderson and then a pair in Calgary to round out November, before returning home for another four game home stand in December, featuring Teddy Bear Toss on Saturday December 2nd.
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