CANUCKS COMPLETE LAVAL SWEEP, DEFEAT ROCKET 6-3
The Abbotsford Canucks welcomed the Laval Rocket to the Abbotsford Centre on Sunday afternoon for the first afternoon game of the year for the Canucks. Sunday’s game would also be the fourth and final matchup of the season series, of which the Canucks lead 2-1 before puck drop.
Chase Wouters and Jack Rathbone each made their return to the lineup on Sunday, with neither of the pair featuring in Saturday’s 7-5 win over Laval. Arturs Silovs started in goal once again, off the back of a pair of victories in his last two starts. The Latvian netminder was looking for his first three-game winning streak of his AHL career.
It would be Kevin Poulin to start in goal for the Rocket, off the back of a 19 save performance on Saturday night. He would have a quiet first period compared to his Abbotsford counterpart.
Despite failing to convert on a lengthy five-on-three, the Rocket generated a number of chances on Silovs in the opening period. The Canucks would make the Laval regret not jumping out to an early lead when Tristen Nielsen crashed the net and steered home the first of the game.
The goal would quickly be overturned after the officials saw a kicking motion, however that wouldn’t matter much when Justin Dowling opened the scoring (again) less than a minute later.
Christian Wolanin would feed Pederson in the faceoff circle, who quickly fired off a shot towards Poulin. Despite handling the shot, the rebound fell right onto the stick of Dowling who jammed home his fourth of the year with four minutes remaining.
With the assist, Christian Wolanin now holds the longest point streak this season in the AHL with 12 games.
It seemed as though it would finish 1-0 through the opening 20 minutes, until Will Lockwood doubled Abbotsford’s lead with less than a second remaining. The Canucks found themselves with a two man advantage, where they tried funnelling the puck to Pederson down in front of the goal.
Poulin got a stick on it to break it up, but Lockwood was one of a herd of bodies in front of the goal, with “Wild Bill” getting the final touch as the puck crossed the line. Lockwood’s eighth of the year would be the final action of the first period, finishing 2-0 in favour of Abbotsford.
The Canucks would pick up right where they left off, this time with Wyatt Kalynuk finding the scoresheet. Chase Wouters would leave the puck at the point for Kalynuk, who moved to the middle and fired off a slapshot from the blue line.
Poulin wasn’t able to close the five-hole quick enough, as Kalynuk tallied for the second time this year, improving Abbotsford’s lead to three.
Laval would grab a pair of late goals before the end of the frame, with Peter Abbandonato breaking free and steering one past Silovs with four minutes remaining. Then, Lucas Condotta jumped on a loose puck following a blocked Gabriel Borque shot, firing home his fifth of the year with just over a minute remaining.
After forty minutes, the Canucks lead 3-2 despite being outshot 16-11 in the second period.
Kyle Rau would re-establish the Canucks multi-goal lead just five minutes into the final frame. Wyatt Kalynuk would send Christian Wolanin down the left boards, who took the puck behind Poulin’s goal. A quick feed over to Rau in the slot, who’s one-time finish flew over the glove of Poulin to make it 4-2 Canucks.
The Rocket would swap out Poulin for Joseph Vrbetic, making his AHL debut for the final 15 minutes of the game.
It would be a start to forget, as the first shot he faced would be a Podkolzin wrist shot from the high circle. A rocket of a shot, Podkolzin grabbed his second goal of the year with the puck soaring just under the crossbar to increase Abbotsford’s lead to 5-2.
Anthony Richard would pull one back for the Rocket, however it would be cancelled out by a Lane Pederson empty net goal from inside his own blue line.
The Canucks completed the perfect week, winning four consecutive games, including Sunday’s contest by a score of 6-3.
Christian Wolanin finished with four assists while Lane Pederson had a goal and two helpers, alongside a 33 save performance from Arturs Silovs. For tonight’s full box score, please click HERE.
Up next for the Canucks will be a week of practice before a pair of games next weekend against the Manitoba Moose. Friday and Saturday’s games will get underway from the Abbotsford Centre at 7:00pm.
To purchase tickets to upcoming Abbotsford Canucks games, please click HERE.