The Abbotsford Canucks welcomed the San Jose to Abbotsford Centre on Saturday night for the seventh clash between the two this season. Abbotsford leads the season series 5-1-0-0, outscoring the Barracuda 25 – 13, and looked to pull further ahead of the Colorado Eagles in the Pacific Division standings.

Saturday night saw the return of Guillaume Brisebois to the Abbotsford lineup, after missing the previous eight games with an injury. It also marked the first time since April 8th that netminder Spencer Martin played in front of the Abbotsford fans, as he made his third consecutive start in goal for the Canucks.

Abbotsford also signed Raphael Audet to an amateur try out agreement prior to the contest. It would be Strauss Mann who would tend the Barracuda crease, who was looking to pick up his fifth victory of the year.

Chad Nychuk, who made his AHL debut on Wednesday night in Calgary, almost potted his first pro goal in the early going. However it would take just over 10 minutes for the deadlock to be broken. Nils Höglander shifted the puck back to the blue line for Brisebois, who played it to his partner Wyatt Kalynuk along the right boards.

Kalynuk fired a shot towards goal with significant traffic in front. The puck made it’s way through the maze of bodies and past Mann’s blocker for the game’s first goal. Kalynuk’s fourth of the year was reviewed for goaltender interference, however the call stood and Abbotsford held the lead.

It seemed as though they would take that lead all the way to the intermission, until Andrew Agozzino slipped behind the Canucks’ defence in the final three minutes. Agozzino pulled out a quick move to beat Martin and level the game up at one, which is how it would stay heading into the break. Abbotsford lead the shot count 9-6 through 20 minutes.

The second period would come and go without anybody finding the score sheet, with Justin Dowling coming the closest to giving the hosts the lead. Kyle Rau took the feed from a spinning Höglander, who then sauced the puck across the face of goal to Dowling. Dowling’s effort was denied by the athletic stop by Mann, sending the team’s back to the locker rooms deadlocked at 1-1.

Abbotsford lead the shot count still through 40 minutes of play 21-15.

The third period started off with a bang, as the Canucks powerplay unit connected for the first time on the night. Jack Rathbone let a shot fly from the point, but it would be Nils Höglander who got the last touch on it as it beat Mann’s pad. Höglander’s eighth of the season came just over a minute and a half into the third period.

The visitors would answer right back, as William Eklund and CJ Suess each tallying for San Jose. Eklund would pick up his 15th, before Seuss would grab two goals in less than two and a half minutes, propelling the Barracuda to a 4-2 lead.

Danila Klimovich would grab one back for Abbotsford, connecting with Arsh Bains and Chase Wouters for the Belarussian winger to pot his 11th of the campaign. Klimovich’s goal capped off a wild eight minutes, in which five goals were grabbed.

A late powerplay opportunity, mixed with an empty net would be Abbotsford’s final chance to pull even. A series of wild scrambles in front of Mann was as close as the Canucks would come to drawing level, as San Jose held on to secure the 4-3 victory.

Jack Rathbone lead the game with seven shots, while Nils Höglander picked up a goal and assist,m good enough for his eighth point in his last seven contests. Spencer Martin turned aside 20 of the 24 shots he faced, while Abbotsford could only get three of their 39 efforts past Mann.

For the full AHL box score, please click HERE.

Up next for the Abbotsford Canucks is a rematch with the Barracuda on Monday afternoon, in what will be their eighth and final meeting of the season. The game will get underway at 2:00pm on Family Day in BC. Celebrate Family Day with the Abbotsford Canucks, with activities such as a bouncy castle, an autograph session with the players post game, special appearances by FIN as well as Disney/Marvel characters, and free hot chocolate and popcorn for the kids.

To purchase tickets for an Abbotsford Canucks game, please click HERE.