SAN DIEGO, CA — The Abbotsford Canucks are the hottest team in the American Hockey League.

After the Canucks defeated the Condors 3-1 on Saturday in what was arguably the most important game to date for both teams, Abbotsford had four days off until its next game. It was scheduled to be against the San Diego Gulls.

The team arrived to San Diego shortly after their 3-1 over the Condors. They made the most of it. The Canucks were even in attendance for some Major League Baseball action when the San Diego Padres played host to the Atlanta Braves at Petco Park on Easter Sunday.

The Padres edged out a 2-1 victory over the Braves too.

The Canucks earned the days off and some quality bonding time as a team. After all, they had been undefeated on their four-game road trip and on a six-game winning streak up to this point.

But perhaps it was the days that caused the slow start.

That’s because when it came to game time between the two teams on Wednesday, despite Canucks forward Justin Bailey opening the scoring with a shorthanded goal at 1:30 of the first period, the Gulls scored four goals and led 4-1 after the second period.

The Canucks’ marker was Bailey’s 12th goal of the season.

San Diego outshot the Canucks 23-12 after two periods.

At 7:43 of the second period though, Canucks defenceman Jack Rathbone and Jacob Perreault decided to drop the gloves. Despite the Canucks trailing by three, the intensity was still there.

Never count Abbotsford out of a game, either. The team has found ways to win games, no matter the situation. Little did we know too, Bailey and Rathbone weren’t done.

Canucks forward Sheldon Rempal would make his presence felt too.

The team looked inspired in the third period and had got their legs under them at the perfect timing. Abbotsford’s coaching staff, led by head coach Trent Cull, relied on the team’s top players.

Rempal, who has carried the torch for this team all season, especially as of the late with Nic Petan, Sheldon Dries and Will Lockwood all recalled and with the Vancouver Canucks, scored his 30th goal of the season at 2:05 of the third period. Rathbone and forward Justin Dowling got the assists.

There it was.

The momentum had shifted in Abbotsford’s favour.

About two minutes later, Bailey scored again while the team was shorthanded.

There was more coming for the Canucks. The Gulls’ faithful knew it too. The nervous energy could be felt by everyone in attendance.

With 25 seconds left in the third period, Rathbone scored his 10th goal of the season to tie the game. Dowling and Rempal got the assists.

Bailey, who hasn’t lost a single step since returning from injury, completed the hat trick as he scored the overtime winner at 3:40 of that period.

Rempal and Dowling were all over it, as they got the assists once again.

Bailey’s hat trick earned him first star of the game honours as well.

“I’m just trying to make my presence felt,” he said. “We didn’t have the start we wanted to and we knew that going into the third period. I was just going to give us a chance. We have a resilient team with all the ups and downs. For us to have a comeback win in the middle of a streak like this is pretty impressive for this group.”

The Canucks’ 4-3 overtime victory over the Gulls extended Abbotsford’s winning streak to seven games which is the longest active one in the AHL.

Abbotsford also moved into No. 3 in the Pacific Division with 80 points. The Colorado Eagles, even with 81 points, move to No. 4. Why? Abbotsford has a better points percentage with two games in hand over the Eagles.

“We haven’t played much,” Cull said. “We’ve had like three or four days in San Diego, which has been great. We are rusty. Our details were not good enough. Our habits slipped. We have some work to do. It was a great third period and great overtime. We know, for playoff hockey that’s around the corner in two weeks, we need to make sure that we’re playing a better brand of hockey.”


The Abbotsford Canucks (37-21-5-1) will visit the Stockton Heat (44-14-4-2) at Stockton Arena on Thursday. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00PM PST.


  • Abbotsford forward Justin Bailey finished with a hat trick which extended his point streak (four goals and two assists) to four games. He had a plus-2 rating and five shots on net as well.

  • Canucks forward Sheldon Rempal finished with a goal and two assists. That extended his point streak (five goals and seven assists) to seven games. He had a plus-1 rating and led the team with nine shots on net as well.

  • Abbotsford defenceman Jack Rathbone finished with a goal and an assist. He has three goals and 11 assists over his last nine games.

  • Canucks forward Justin Dowling finished with three assists and was a plus-1 rating. He has two goals and three assists over his last three games.

  • Abbotsford goaltender Michael DiPietro made 30 saves in his 13th win of the season. That extended his win streak to four games as well.

  • Canucks defenceman Devante Stephens was kept out of the lineup due to injury.

  • The Vancouver Canucks recalled goaltender Spencer Martin from Abbotsford under emergency conditions on Tuesday afternoon. It was precautionary and was later terminated. However, Vancouver goaltender Jaroslav Halák suffered an upper-body injury in the team’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators on the same night. That meant that Martin had to be recalled again on Wednesday, under the same conditions.

  • The Vancouver Canucks re-assigned goaltender Arturs Silovs from the ECHL’s Trois-Rivières Lions to Abbotsford on Wednesday. In 10 games with the Lions this season, he has a 6-3-1 record with a 2.37 goals-against average, a .920 save percentage, along with one shutout.

  • Abbotsford signed goaltender Matt Zenzola on a professional tryout agreement on Wednesday.

  • Vancouver Canucks forward Sheldon Dries finished with an assist and a plus-1 rating in the team’s 6-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Monday. It was the 27-year-old’s first assist with Vancouver. He has 27 assists with Abbotsford this season.

  • The American Hockey League has corrected its scoresheet and has added a secondary assist to Abbotsford centre John Stevens on forward Sheldon Rempal’s 29th goal of the season. It came in the team’s 4-3 overtime victory over the San Jose Barracuda on April 15. That marked Stevens’ 50th AHL-career assist. He has 21 of them this season.