CANUCKS CLINCH HOME ICE, COMPLETE COMEBACK WITH 4-3 OVERTIME WIN OVER ONTARIO
The Abbotsford Canucks welcomed the Ontario Reign to the Abbotsford Centre on Friday night for the first game of a five game home stand to close out the regular season.
Jett Woo came into the contest having recorded four goals and two multi-point games over his last 10 games, while Jack Rathbone returned to the Abbotsford lineup since being recalled to Vancouver. Andy Carroll and Max Sasson both made their home debuts with Abbotsford while Arturs Silovs got the start in the Canucks’ goal. Matthew Villalta started between the pipes for the visiting Reign.
The Canucks killed both penalties in the opening frame, despite getting outshot 12-10 through 20 minutes. However the scoreless stretch for both sides was snapped in the final 90 seconds of the period, when Linus Karlsson got on the end of a Justin Dowling rebound in front of the crease.
Karlsson steered home the second effort for his 22nd goal on the season, giving the Canucks a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
That wouldn’t be the only action Karlsson found on the score sheet, as he would soon double Abbotsford’s advantage halfway through the second period. Breaking forward down the wing, Karlsson slid the puck back to the blue line for Jack Rathbone. Rathbone then wound up for a slap shot, before slapping the puck back to Karlsson who was waiting at the back post with a wide open net.
Karlsson tallied his 23rd of the year, and boosted Abbotsford’s lead to 2-0.
Ontario would pull one back before the end of the second period, as Lias Andersson picked up his team leading 29th goal of the season.
The Canucks would hold that 2-1 lead into the intermission, with Silovs stopping 24 of the 25 efforts he had seen through 40 minutes.
The Reign would not roll over that easily however, storming out of the gates in the third period. Cole Krygier tied the game up at three thanks to his first career AHL goal. His breakaway effort came nine minutes into the period, and was soon followed up by an Alex Laferriere go ahead goal with less than six minutes to go in the contest.
Trailing 3-2 in the dying moments with an empty net, Kyle Rau jumped all over a Tristen Nielsen rebound at the side of the net, jamming in what would be the game-tying goal. Rau’s 16th of the season came with just 26 seconds remaining, and would end up being the goal to secure home ice for the Canucks in the first round of the playoffs.
Rau’s equalizer sent the game in Overtime, where Trsiten Nielsen and Arsh Bains broke into the Reign zone. A spinning Nielsen dropped the puck back to Jett Woo who walked in and fired home the game winning goal 22 seconds into Overtime.
With the goal, Woo secured the dramatic 4-3 comeback victory for Abbotsford, clinching home ice for Round 1 of the 2023/23 Calder Cup Playoffs in the process. With the point, Ontario also clinched a playoff birth. Jett Woo tallied his third goal in as many games, while Tristen Nielsen picked up a three-assist night. Silovs stopped 31 of the 34 Ontario efforts he faced, while Villalta turned aside 23 of Abbotsford’s 27 shots.
For the full AHL box score, please click HERE.
Up next for the Canucks is their final game against the Reign on Saturday at 7:00pm, with the Saturday contest being Abbotsford’s Community Heroes Night. Following that, the Canucks close out the year with a Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday series against the Calgary Wranglers. The first Calgary game is Autism Acceptance Night, before Friday’s Spring Country Night and Saturday’s Fan Appreciation game.
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