Arturs Silovs, Abby Canucks Shutout Henderson Silver Knights
The Abbotsford Canucks completed their two-game sweep of the Henderson Silver Knights on Sunday evening, shutting out the Knights 3-0 in front of their home crowd at Abbotsford centre. Tonight's game represented the Canucks' strongest overall effort this season and was their first victory in regulation as an AHL franchise. The star of the game was Abby goalie, Arturs Silovs, as he recorded the first shutout in franchise history.
Tonight's game got off to a slow start as neither team cracked the scoresheet in the opening frame. Abby got the better early scoring chances thanks to a pair of early penalties by the Knights, but were unable to get the puck past Henderson goaltender, Dylan Ferguson. The tables turned late in the period as Henderson applied the pressure on the Canucks. However, just like Ferguson, Silovs stood tall between the pipes for the Canucks to keep it scoreless.
Nic Petan got the scoring started in the second period for the Abbotsford Canucks, slapping a rebound past a sprawled out Ferguson to give Abby a 1-0 lead just under four minutes into the frame. The Delta, BC product's goal was his first in Green and Blue and gave the home crowd a jolt of energy.
"Nic is a go-to guy," said head coach Trent Cull following the game. "He's a guy who has played in the NHL. He does a really good job for us. He's good on faceoffs and he is just a really good pro."
The Canucks added to their lead a few minutes later when Sheldon Dries beat Ferguson five-hole to give Abbotsford a 2-0 lead. The goal was Dries' 50th of his AHL career. Abby's potent powerplay was the difference tonight as both second period markers came on the man advantage.
Nic Petan added an empty netter late to put the finishing touches on the game. The goal was Petan's second of the game and his second of the season for the Canucks.
"I thought our guys did a really good job of just playing a tighter game," said Cull on the way his team played tonight.
The story of the night had to be the play of Abbotsford Canucks' net-minder, Arturs Silovs. The 20-year-old Latvian earned the franchise's first ever victory in his last outing and he did one better tonight, recording the first shutout in franchise history. The Abby defence did a fantastic job limiting Henderson's scoring chances, but Silovs came up with clutch saves when called upon.
"This is a team sport," said Silovs following the shutout. "Every single win is about the team. Surely, some days some players are better and some are not, but it's a team sport."
The Canucks got some much needed spark from their fourth line tonight. Chase Wouters combined with Vincent Arseneau and Ethan Keppen to provide physicality to the club. High energy is mandatory for the fourth line and these three brought plenty of that tonight.
"I think we were good," said Wouters on the performance of the fourth line tonight. "We got in on the forecheck and I thought we were a physical line which is something we can bring to the team. We've got to build on what we did good tonight and there are also some areas we need to clean up. But it was a fun game and it was good playing with those guys."
"I like the mix of them," said Cull on the play of his fourth liners tonight. "It was Ethan's first game and it was nice to see him get in there. I thought he played well. Those guys were good energy and I tried to get them out there as much as I could."
Next up for the Abbotsford Canucks (3-1-1-0) is a date against the Ontario Reign (4-0-0-1) at the Abbotsford Centre on Friday, October 29th. The AHL season is still in it's infancy, but Friday's game will already be the third meeting between these two teams this season. Both of the previous games went into overtime, as the Canucks won the first matchup in a shootout and the Rein evened the season series in the next game by netting the winner in the extra frame. With nine points, the Reign currently sit in first place in the Pacific Division and the Canucks are in third place with seven points.