CANUCKS COMEBACK FALLS SHORT, LOSE IN TUCSON 5-2
For the second time in as many days, the Abbotsford Canucks took to the ice at the Tucson Convention Centre to square off with the Tucson Roadrunners.
Nils Höglander entered the contest with four points across his last four games, including a two-assist performance in Saturday night’s 6-3 defeat to Tucson.
Making their returns to the Canucks’ lineup were Alex Kannok Leipert and Jake Kupsky. Kannok Leipert paired up with Quinn Schmiemann on the blue line, while Kupsky made his fourth start on the season between the pipes for Abbotsford.
Across the ice from Kupsky would be Ivan Prosvetov, making his 24th start of the AHL season.
Off the back of some stellar saves from Prosvetov in the opening minutes, Tucson would open the scoring seven minutes into the contest. Victor Soderstrom picked up a loose puck at the point and fired the puck towards goal. Through traffic, the puck squeezed past Kupsky to give Tucson the 1-0 lead.
Milos Kelemen would extend the lead to 2-0 for the Roadrunners, capitalizing on a bouncing puck around the crease. Kelemen’s tenth of the season came with less than seven minutes remaining in the opening frame.
It would only take just over a minute for Abbotsford to respond.
It would be Phil Di Giuseppe who was on the receiving end of a stretching Tristen Nielsen pass, and turned his eyes towards goal. Having to spin away from a pressuring Tucson defenceman, Di Giuseppe let the puck fly on the back hand, going over the shoulder of Prosvetov.
Di Giuseppe’s twelfth of the season was the final scoring play of the opening period, with the Canucks trailing 2-1, despite outshooting Tucson 18-14 through twenty minutes. Noah Juulsen lead the team with three of those efforts towards Prosvetov.
The Roadrunners would be first on the score sheet in the middle frame, as Dysin Mayo connected with Adam Cracknell and Michael Carcone to finish off a fast break, re-establishing Tucson’s two goal lead eight minutes into the second.
It looked as though Mayo’s tally would be the lone goal of the frame, however Phil Di Giuseppe changed that with 50 seconds remaining. A mad scramble in front of the Tucson goal lead to Klimovich collecting the puck at the top of the left faceoff circle. His shot found it’s way through traffic, and was ultimately steered aside by Prosvetov.
The rebound fell straight to a wide-open Di Giuseppe, who buried his second of the game to once again cut the deficit to one. Abbotsford trailed 3-2 after forty minutes.
Despte a closely fought final 20 minutes, Abbotsford couldn’t find the equalizer to level the game at three. Travis Barron and Nathan Smith grabbed a pair of empty net goals in the final minutes to wrap this one up as a 5-2 score in favour of the hosts Tucson.
Di Giuseppe picked up his second multi-goal game of the season, while Nils Höglander lead the Canucks in shots with six. Ivan Prosvetov turned aside 38 of the 40 shots he saw, while Kupsky made 21 saves on the 24 shots he faced.
For the full box score, please click HERE.
Up next for the Canucks is a brief stop in San Diego on Wednesday, February 1st. Following that pit-stop, the Canucks face the Barracuda for a weekend back-to-back on Friday night and Saturday afternoon in San Jose to wrap up their five game road trip.