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Canucks players and Reign players battling for possession.

Canucks Come Up Short Against Reign, Lose 5-2

It was a tough night for the Abbotsford Canucks and their fans on Friday. The Ontario Reign won 5-2 and dominated the pace of play against the Canucks at Abbotsford Centre. The score was tight for the first two periods before the Reign pulled away in the final frame.

Despite being outshot 14 to 6 in the opening period, Abbotsford broke through first just before the end of the buzzer sounded. Sheldon Dries did a beautiful job deflecting a Cameron Schilling shot that found the back of the net to give the Canucks a 1-0 lead through the first 20 minutes. The goal was Dries' third of the year but that season tally would continue to grow as the night went on.

Ontario continued their barrage of shots in the second period and this time were rewarded for it. Thanks in large part to a slew of penalties from the Canucks, the Reign knotted the game at 1 when Tyler Madden snuck a puck past Arturs Silovs at the 10:06 mark of the second period. Johan Sodergran gave Ontario a one-goal advantage a little over two minutes later.

The Reign's lead did not last long however, as Sheldon Dries somehow found a way to find twine from below the goal line. The Canucks top line centreman found a crease between Matthew Villalta's stick and pads, and placed his shot perfectly to tie the game at 2 with just under three minutes remaining in the frame. Despite being heavily outshot and out-chanced, the Canucks went into the final period with an opportunity to win this game as the score was tied at 2.

"Sheldon is a very reliable player for me," said head coach Trent Cull after the game. "He quietly goes about his job and he has been a threat for us the whole season. Good for him to get a couple tonight."

Ontario jumped back out in front early in the third after a Sean Durzi wrister from the top of the circle trickled in past Silovs. The Abby goaltender got a piece of the shot but not enough to keep it from crossing the red line. Things only got worse from there for Abbotsford as Ontario piled on with another two goals to win by a final score of 5-2. The Reign outshot the Canucks 36 to 18 in this one.

"As advertised, (Ontario) is a team that plays with speed and skill," said Cull postgame. "We knew they have elite speed and elite skill. Our guys worked hard and we did a good job keeping it tight for the first two periods."

"We know that wasn't our best game," said Canucks' alternate captain Ashton Sautner. "A lot of details within the game were not very good and collectively, man to man, we need to be better. We need to bring a better effort tomorrow, that's for sure."

Penalties continue to plague this group but as has been the case throughout the season, the Canucks' penalty kill stood tall tonight. Abbotsford allowed just two goals in seven power play opportunities on Friday night. The discipline needs to improve but the penalty kill unit and Silovs deserve a ton of credit for limiting the damage tonight.

"We could be a little smarter," said Cull when asked about his team's frequent stays in the sin bin. "We got ourselves into penalty trouble. That gave Ontario some momentum for sure and we don't want to give a team that many opportunities."

"Penalties are always part of the game," said Sautner. "Seems like we have had a lot penalties during the last three games and obviously, tonight we were short-handed for a lot of it. I thought our PK did a pretty good job overall."

Silovs did everything he possibly could to keep the Canucks in the game tonight. He turned away 27 of 29 shots through the first two frames and ultimately denied the Reign of a goal on 31 of their 36 shot attempts. The 20-year-old net-minder has been a bright spot for Abby this season and his overall play continues to impress.

"Artie has shown really well," said Cull when asked about the play of his goaltender. "He's young and looks like a great young prospect for the organization. I thought he played really well tonight."

"Artie's been great," said Sautner when asked about Silovs' contributions to the team. "Obviously last game he was terrific and tonight he made a ton of big saves for us. We had too many breakdowns in front of him where Artie would make the first save and then we didn't get rid of the rebounds. He's a gamer and he battled again for us tonight."

The Abbotsford Canucks (3-2-1-0) will be out for for revenge on Saturday night as they host the Ontario Reign (5-0-0-1) at 7 pm at Abbotsford Centre. The Canucks are currently ranked sixth in the Pacific Division with seven points and the Reign lead the Pacific with 11 points.

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