ABBOTSFORD CANUCKS VS LAVAL ROCKET SERIES PREVIEW
The Abbotsford Canucks kick off a four game homestand this weekend with a pair of games at Abbotsford Centre, hosting the Laval Rocket.
The two sides will meet for the third and fourth time this season, starting on Friday night before wrapping up the season series on Saturday with Teddy Bear Toss.
Laval has started the year going 5-9-3-1, good enough for 14 points and are sitting last in the North division, as well as second last in the Eastern Conference. Abbotsford have gone 11-5-1-1 to open up their third season in the AHL, with their 23 points being good enough for third in the Pacific and tied for third in the Western Conference.
The Rocket are winless in their last five, and have been outscored 20-13 in that span. Meanwhile the Canucks have won six of their last seven, with three wins over Henderson, two over Bakersfield, and splitting last weekend’s series in Calgary.
This weekend will be the last time these two sides face each other this season, with Abbotsford winning both games in Quebec in the season’s opening weekend. The Canucks won 7-4 and 4-3, featuring a Vasily Podkolzin double in the opener and a Tristen Nielsen hat trick in the second contest. Arshdeep Bains picked up a career-high four points (1G, 3A) in the first game, while Nikita Tolopilo made 41 saves in his AHL debut in the rematch.
Abbotsford hosted Laval for last season’s Teddy Bear Toss game as well, beating the Rocket 7-5 in a wild one at Abbotsford Centre on Dec 3rd, 2022. Phil Di Giuseppe scored the game’s first goal, picking up a pair as well as Jett Woo and Linus Karlsson finding the score sheet.
Rookie Joshua Roy leads the team in assists (11), and points (18) and is tied for the team in lead in goals (7) with Lias Andersson. Roy picked up four points (2G, 2A) in the opening series against Abbotsford, while Andersson also registered a pair of goals.
Second year forward Arshdeep Bains leads the Canucks in assists (14) and total points with 17. Sheldon Dries and Nils Åman lead Abbotsford in goals with eight each, with Åman currently with the Vancouver Canucks. Linus Karlsson and Matt Irwin were also brought up to the Vancouver roster on Wednesday, with Aatu Räty putting up five points (2G, 3A) in his last three games.
The Rocket have rolled with a dual-rookie tandem in the crease this year, with Jakub Dobeš and Strauss Mann splitting the net with 11 and 10 appearances respectively. Dobeš has three wins and an .871 save percentage, while Mann has two victories, a .882 save percentage and a goal.
Abbotsford have charged forward with Artūrs Šilovs and Nikita Tolopilo in goal, with Šilovs picking up seven wins, two shutouts and a .909 save percentage. Tolopilo has registered four wins and a .907 save percentage through his first seven games of his rookie campaign.
After this weekend, the Canucks will welcome the Coachella Valley Firebirds to Abbotsford Centre on December 8th and 9th(Star Wars Night) for their second series of the season. The team then flies out for a three game road trip, stopping in Coachella Valley and then Tucson for a pair of games, before their final home games of 2023 against Ontario on December 20th and 21st.
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