Abbotsford Canucks Win Thriller in Inaugural Home Opener
It was a magical night on Friday, as the Abbotsford Canucks downed the Henderson Silver Knights in overtime 3-2 for their first ever home win at Abbotsford Centre. Friday was a night Abby Canucks fans will not soon forget as the team rallied to tie the game in the final frame and Madison Bowey put home the game winner in overtime.
The Abbotsford Canucks got on the board first, sending their home fans into a frenzy at Abbotsford Centre. Justin Bailey registered the first home goal in franchise history thanks to a long pass from Noah Juulsen that banked perfectly off the side board at the 13:05 mark of the first period. The goal was Bailey's 100th in his AHL career.
"I saw it go in and then I got tripped up there and smoked the post," said Bailey scoring the first goal ever by a Canuck at Abbotsford Centre. "I wanted to make sure I was feeding off the energy of the crowd and I got a nice little celly in there too."
The lead did not last long however, as the Henderson Silver Knights lit the lamp just over a minute after Bailey's goal. Pavel Dorofeyev displayed silky smooth hands as he got the puck past Michael DiPietro to tie the game at 1.
Despite numerous penalties on both sides during the second frame, the score remained deadlocked at 1 the conclusion of the second period. Henderson pushed out in front in the third period with a shorthanded goal that beat DiPietro blocker side. Abbotsford fought back to tie the game midway through the third period when John Stevens shot a one-timer home following a beautiful feed from Danila Klimovich.
"When Danila plays safe during the first two zones, he gives himself the opportunity to play in the third zone," said Cull on the play of his 18-year-old winger. "He got better as the game progressed tonight, I thought he was making some better plays tonight, he made a great play on the John Stevens goal."
The extra frame saw chances from both teams, but the Canucks applied consistent pressure as the period went on. Madison Bowey found the back of the net at the 2:44 mark of the overtime period to win the game for the home side. Justin Bailey and newcomer, Nic Petan assisted on the game-winner. The crowd erupted and everyone went home happy thanks to the heroics of Madison and his teammates.
Penalties have been issue all season for the Canucks and tonight was no different. The home side spent plenty of time in the sin bin but the penalty killers did a great job tonight.
"Obviously, we don't want to take bad penalties," said Cull following the game. "But if my guys are competing, then I'm kind of okay with that. We've got a good penalty kill and we have good goaltenders. Of course we don't want to get into trouble, but I think it was fine tonight."
Despite being limited to 50% capacity, Abbotsford Centre was rocking tonight. The crowd was a factor from the opening puck drop and gave the Canucks a boost of energy on the ice. The players were elated following the win to be able to send the supportive Abby crowd home happy!
"I took a moment at the end of the game to take a look at the crowd," said Cull about the atmosphere at Abbotsford Centre on Friday night. " I thought (the crowd) was really good for 50% capacity. They were a great group, very vocal
The Abbotsford Canucks will take on the Henderson Silver Knights in the series finale on Sunday afternoon at 4:00 pm at Abbotsford Centre. The Canucks are once again expecting a full house on Sunday, so the atmosphere will be fun for the players and fans.