Barracuda take bite out of Canucks, Abby loses 6-4

The Abbotsford Canucks (6-7-2-1) ended their two-game winning streak on Saturday night, losing 6-4 to the San Jose Barracuda (6-8-1-0) at Abbotsford Centre. For the third consecutive game, the Canucks fell behind early but unlike the other two games, Abby was not able to come out victorious.

For the third consecutive contest, the Abby Canucks allowed a goal within the first 90 seconds but battled back to take the lead later in the game. Jayden Halbgewachs gave the Cuda a 1-0 lead following a sweet feed from Nick Merkley. Jaycob Megna and Merkley assisted on the play.

Abbotsford’s powerplay was on fire tonight and Will Lockwood got the Canucks on the board at the 2:59 mark of the first period with the man advantage. Cameron Schilling and Phil Di Giuseppe had the helpers.

San Jose answered back with a pair of goals at the 7:07 mark and the 10:44 mark of the first period to take a 3-1 lead. Scott Reedy was ready to score and did just that on the powerplay to make it 2-1. Jake McGrew found the back of net to extend the Cuda lead to two goals.

Di Giuseppe got the comeback started on the powerplay, beating Alexei Melnichuk blocker side with a wrist shot at the 12:22 mark of first period. Cameron Schilling and Lockwood assisted on the goal, as the Canucks cut the Barracuda lead in half.

Nic Petan knotted the game at 3 goals apiece at the 1:54 mark in the second period. It was the third powerplay goal of the night for the home side. The Delta, BC product now has four goals in eight games this season. Sheldon Rempal and Justin Bailey assisted on the play.

Jack Rathbone tickled the twine for the first time this season at the 5:56 mark of the second period. Rathbone’s goal gave the Canucks a 4-3 lead. Madison Bowey and Vincent Arseneau had the assists.

Unfortunately, that was the top of the mountain for the Canucks tonight as they proceeded to allow three unanswered goals in the final frame. Joachim Blichfeld scored the tying and go-ahead goal. Evan Weinger got the empty netter to give the Barracuda the win.

“I didn’t like us from the start and I didn’t like us at the end,” said Head Coach, Trent Cull. “I didn’t like our game at all. We had a little bit of different guys in there tonight and there was no synchronicity as a group.”

The Canucks were lethal tonight on the powerplay, scoring a franchise record three times with the man advantage. Lockwood, Di Giuseppe and Petan all had power play goals as Abby excelled in five on four situations.

“Happy that the guys executed on the powerplay,” said Cull. “Nice to see those guys found opportunities to keep us in the game. Jeff Ulmer has done a really good job with it. I feel like it’s been coming around and they are playing with more confidence.” Special teams was a bright spot for the home side as they went three for four on the powerplay and killed off three of four Barracuda powerplays. The penalty kill has been exceptional all year and once again looked good tonight.

“Our penalty kill has been good,” said Will Lockwood postgame. “We work on it a lot. The guys who are on it, do a good job and know it well. The system is working.”

The Abbotsford Canucks (6-7-2-1) will look to bounce back tomorrow afternoon as they once again play host to the San Jose Barracuda (6-8-1-0) at Abbotsford Centre. Puck drop is scheduled for 4 pm. Tomorrow’s game will feature a Food Drive in support of Archway Food Bank of Abbotsford. Fans are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to the game and drop it in a designated area before entering the Abbotsford Centre.