Abby Canucks Fight Hard but Fall in OT to Reign
The Abbotsford Canucks (3-2-2-0) fell to the Ontario Reign (6-0-0-1), 3-2 in overtime on Saturday night at Abbotsford Centre. The breaks did not ultimately go the Canucks way, but that was not because of lack of effort. Abby was very competitive tonight and fought hard to push this game into the extra frame and earn that point.
Ontario got the scoring started in the first period thanks to a power play goal by Martin Frk at the 9:44 mark. T.J. Tynan and Jordan Spence assisted on the goal. The Reign doubled their lead exactly two minutes later when Jaret Anderson-Dolan found the back of the net on the power play. The score was 2-0 in favour of Ontario after the opening 20 minutes tonight.
The Canucks comeback began in earnest when they cut the Reign lead in half thanks to a relentless effort by Phil Di Giuseppe. The 28-year-old winger received the puck down low on the power play and when his first shot failed to beat Reign goaltender, Garret Sparks, he followed up by burying the rebound to make it a 2-1 deficit. That is the way things stayed through two periods tonight,
The Canucks continued to battle and broke through thanks to a beautiful one-timer goal from Sheldon Dries. It was a Sheldon to Sheldon connection, as Sheldon Rempal provided the sweet saucer pass that skipped over a couple Reign sticks before landing perfectly on Dries' twig. Dries knew exactly what to do with the puck and blasted it right past Sparks to even the score at 2.
"It was an unbelievable pass by Sheldon," said Dries postgame. "He's got so much skill. It's my job just to get open and he will find me."
As has been the case in three of the four meetings between these two clubs this season, 60 minutes was not enough time to decide the outcome tonight. The game went to overtime and both teams had opportunities early in the period to end the game. The Reign made one more play than the Canucks tonight and walked away with the victory after T.J. Tynan scored at the 2:54 mark.
"I thought we bounced back," said head coach Trent Cull after the game. "I thought to battle back from two goals behind against that team, I thought it was really good."
There were plenty of positives tonight for the Canucks. Following a 5-2 drubbing against the Reign on Friday night in Abbotsford, the Canucks came out with a vengeance in this one. Leading the charge was Vincent Arseneau who got into a scrap 2:51 into the game. It was a memorable bout for Arseneau featuring more than a couple haymakers and provided a spark to the Abby bench.
"I thought Vinny was really good tonight," said Cull on the play of his bruising winger. "He was fired up tonight and he was effective. It's not an easy job the fighting part, but it was great for our group. He was effective, even in the third period, I wanted to get him back out there for another shift, he drew a big penalty."
Sheldon Dries continued his torrid start to the 2021.22 campaign, scoring his team-leading fifth goal of the season tonight. The 27-year-old Wisconsin product has scored four goals in his last three games and put up five points in total. The crafty veteran centre is a player Trent Cull leans on and can trust in any situation.
"Dries is getting himself into the right spots," said Cull on the play of Sheldon this season. "We talk a lot about getting to the front of the net and he is a guy who buys in and he has been rewarded. I think there is a little chemistry with Phil (Di Giuseppe) and Sheldon Rempal. Those three look good together."
"I'm just shooting the puck more," said Dries when asked about his recent surge in goals. "You can't score unless you shoot the puck. That's all it is really, I'm not doing anything too special."
Spencer Martin made his debut for the Abbotsford Canucks this evening and looked sharp in net, turning aside 33 of the 36 shots he faced. The 26-year-old goaltender signed with the Canucks organization in the offseason and proved tonight that the Abby Canucks have three capable goalies on the roster.
"I thought Spencer was good," said Cull on the play of his goaltender. "He did a great job of settling in. For a guy to get two against him right away, I thought he battled back and I thought he made some big saves in the second and third period."
The Abbotsford Canucks (3-2-2-0) will next be in action on November 5 for the opener of a quick two-game roadie against the Heat (4-0-1-0) in Stockton, CA. The Canucks are currently sitting in sixth place in the Pacific Division with eight points and the Heat sit in second place in the Pacific with nine points.