Abby Canucks Earn a Point but Comeback Falls Short in Ontario
The Abbotsford Canucks lost 4-3 against the Ontario Reign on Tuesday night at Toyota Arena. For the second consecutive game, 60 minutes was not enough time to determine the outcome as tonight's contest was decided in overtime. Abbotsford earned a point in the loss to give them a total of three points through their first three games of the season.
Tonight's game got off to a bumpy start for the Canucks. The Reign were aggressive in the attacking zone, pushing the tempo and utilizing their speed to create scoring chances. Johan Sodergran opened the scoring at the 6:49 mark and Samuel Fagemo followed up by scoring a goal of his own less than a minute later. Ontario held a 2-0 lead after the first period.
The Canucks fought back to cut the Reign lead in half during the middle period. It was beginning to feel like Ontario netminder, Matthew Villalta was destined for a clean sheet tonight but Carson Focht put an end to his shutout bid with just over a minute left in the second period. The 21-year-old centreman wristed a gorgeous shot that was placed perfectly to make it a 2-1 game after two periods.
The Canucks capitalized on the shift in momentum, tying the game at 2 on the power play at the 4:29 mark in the third period when Sheldon Dries found the back of the net for the first time in an Abby Canucks uniform. Justin Bailey gave the visiting side their first lead of the night, sneaking a wrist shot between the legs of Villalta to give the Canucks a one goal advantage.
Unfortunately, the Reign stormed back late to tie the game with under two minutes to play. Martin Frk tickled the twine to force overtime. A penalty from Madison Bowey proved fatal for the Canucks. Despite Michael DiPietro's best efforts to keep Abbotsford alive, Frk deflected a Brayden Burke shot that found it's way into the back of the net with less than 10 seconds remaining in the man advantage.
It was a heart breaking defeat for the Abbotsford Canucks and a disappointing way to end their opening road trip but they showed a lot of grit to fight their way back into this game. It took them nearly two periods to figure out how to beat Villalta, but the flood gates opened once they did. DiPietro also showed great poise in net for the Canucks. The 22-year-old goaltender fought through his early struggles and kept the Canucks hopes alive by making numerous clutch saves during the final 50 minutes of this game.
The Abbotsford Canucks (1-1-1) will now head home to the Fraser Valley to take on the Henderson Silver Knights (2-0-0) in their home opener on Friday, October 22nd. The Canucks will enter play hoping to put tonight's heart wrenching result in the rear view mirror. The Henderson Silver Knights will suit up on Friday night as winners of their only two contests this season, both against the Colorado Eagles. It will be a special night for those in attendance at Abbotsford Centre as this will be the first home game in Abby Canucks history.