The Abbotsford Canucks welcome the San Jose Barracuda to the Abbotsford Centre this week for a pair of games on Tuesday and Wednesday night. Both games are set to start at 7:00pm, and will mark the final home games of the calendar year for Abbotsford.

All time, the Canucks are 5-2-0-1 against the Barracuda, outscoring their Californian opposition 33-22. However this week’s games will be the first time this season that Abbotsford are pitted against the Sharks AHL affiliate, opening up an eight game season series.

After flying out of the gates with a 4-2-0-1 record after their opening seven games, the Barracuda have stumbled of late. Dropping four of their last five contests, including being outscored 23-11 in that stretch, has San Jose sitting in 7th in the Pacific Division (13-13-0-1), three points behind the fifth place Canucks.

The Barracuda are tied with Tucson for the most penalty minutes given up across the entire AHL with 534. Luckily they will be able to put to use their highly successful penalty kill unit, who’s 83.7% is eight best in the league.

As for Abbotsford, they are without Lane Pederson, who was recalled to Vancouver last week. Pederson leads the AHL in powerplay goals (9), and is second in the league in goals scored (17).

Another key pillar for Abbotsford over their 7-2-1-0 run in their last ten games has been netminder Arturs Silovs. Silovs has started six of the last seven games for Abbotsford, going 5-1-0-0 in that stretch with a save percentage of .896. The Latvian netminder was recalled to Vancouver on Monday under emergency conditions.

In net for the Barracuda this season has been the goaltending duo of Aaron Dell and rookie Eetu Makiniemi, starting a combined 22 games. Averaging 3.15 goals against in a game started by Dell or Makiniemi, the Barracuda are one of two teams in the league to have multiple goalies record a shut out so far this season (Ontario).

Andrew Aggozzino leads San Jose in assists (15) and points (23), while Thomas Bordeleau tops the charts for the Barracuda for goals with 12.

“Like anyone else, they’re trying to find consistency game to game, they’ve got some good young guys that are making their way into the league. Their maximum level is really high so they’re just trying to find that consistency.” – Jeremy Colliton spoke about the upcoming series with San Jose on Monday afternoon following practice.

After this week’s games, Abbotsford and San Jose next meet on January 14th and 15th with a pair of games at the new Tech CU Arena in California. Following this series, the Canucks will travel to Manitoba for a pair of games in Winnipeg on December 30th and 31st. Their next games back at the Abbotsford Centre will be on January 6th and 7th against the Henderson Silver Knights.

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