Abbotsford Canucks Win in Shootout for First Ever AHL Victory
The Abbotsford Canucks made history on Sunday night against the Ontario Reign, notching their first ever victory as an American Hockey League franchise. It was a hard-fought game that ultimately ended up in a shootout, but the Canucks reigned supreme with a 3-2 win on the road.
Neither team cracked the scoresheet in the opening period and the play of the Abby netminder, Arturs Silovs, was a key reason why. The 20-year-old Latvian essentially stood on his head all period, making multiple highlight reel saves. Silovs kept the Canucks in the game, providing his teammates with the confidence they needed to take some chances on offence.
Danila Klimovich opened the scoring in the second frame while the Canucks were on the powerplay by sniping a wrist shot past Ontario goaltender, Jacob Ingham, at the 2:41 mark. Clanging off the post and ricocheting into the back of the net, the 18-year-old certainly flashed the NHL shot we have all heard so much about. Klimovich’s second goal of the young season gave the visitors a 1-0 lead.
“I’m happy for Danila to have some early success,” said head coach Trent Cull on the 18-year-old’s performance during his first two AHL outings. “He’s got a great shot, so he is going to be a guy who’s dangerous. His results so far speak for themselves, so opposing teams need to account for him on the ice.”
The Reign tied the game in the second period thanks to a goal from Alex Turcotte, but that lead was short lived as the Canucks once again jumped out in front following a wrist shot that had eyes from Phil Di Giuseppe at the 10:10 mark of the period. The 28-year-old left winger’s first goal as an Abbotsford Canuck gave the club a 2-1 lead. However, once again the Reign evened up the score after Brayden Burke found the back of the net at the 12:28 mark.
2-2 is how the scored remained through three periods and Ontario fans were treated to some free hockey. Madison Bowey of the Canucks took a slashing penalty in the extra frame and the visitors went on the defensive. Despite some anxious moments, strong play from their goaltender kept the puck out of the net. Abbotsford killed the penalty and managed to get the game to a shootout.
After both teams failed to tickle the twine through their first three shooters, Phil Di Guiseppe provided a walk-off victory for the Abby Canucks. It was quite a moment for the players and coaching staff, one both groups are unlikely to forget anytime soon.
“It felt great to get that first win for the fans in Abbotsford,” said Cull following his team’s shootout victory. “It was quite a turnaround from last night and the players deserve a ton of credit for that. They bought into some of the things we have been talking about and I thought they did a really good job executing the game plan tonight.”
One of the stars of the game for the Abbotsford Canucks was Arturs Silovs. The young goaltender showed incredible composure in tense situations en route to earning his first win in the AHL. The team leaned on Arturs and he repaid their faith by turning in a phenomenal performance.
“I can’t even describe how amazing it felt,” said Silovs after his first AHL victory. “We battled through this game. It wasn’t easy and we earned every break we got. I have been working hard every single practice and my hard work paid off tonight.”
“I’m very excited for the young man,” said Cull on the play of his netminder tonight. “Arturs look really good, really solid out there. I was very impressed with his movement skills, moving side to side. He was huge for us in the shootout as well, coming up with some great saves when we needed them.”
This was the kind of game that teams build on. Nothing is ever perfect, but there was more good than bad tonight and the score reflects that. The Abbotsford Canucks played with discipline and grit, mixing in skill and great goaltending. If they can keep playing with the same level of compete, this is going to be a very successful season.
“We established our identity a bit tonight,” said Cull when evaluating his club’s play on Sunday. “We figured out some things that work for our group and I think for the first time, the guys showcased the blueprint of how we are going to play. It was exciting to watch and the effort was excellent tonight.”
The Abbotsford Canucks (1-1-0) will look to keep the positive momentum rolling when they once again take on the Ontario Reign (1-0-1) at Toyota Arena on Tuesday, October 19th. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM as the Canucks look to complete the two-game sweep over the Reign.