Looking to continue their perfect start to the season, the Abbotsford Canucks welcomed the Calgary Wranglers to Abbotsford Centre on Friday night.

Josh Bloom made his professional debut on the night, as he and Akito Hirose joined the starting line up as the only two changes from Laval on Saturday. Artūrs Šilovs was named the starter by Head Coach Jeremy Colliton in the Abbotsford crease, while last season’s league MVP Dustin Wolf started in net for the Wranglers.

Friday marked the return of Abbotsford’s Inaugural Season Head Coach, Trent Cull, as Cull was named the Wranglers Head Coach during the 2023 off season.

Player introductions were soon completed and the 2023-24 Abbotsford Canucks greeted their fans at centre ice with a stick raise, and the game then got underway.

It would start off with a bang, as Max Sasson got on the end of a loose puck in Wolf’s crease, jamming the puck narrowly over the line. The goal would have to go to video review to see if the puck crossed the line, where the referees confirmed that it was a good goal, and Sasson had his first goal of the season just 1:56 into the contest. Linus Karlsson and Aidan McDonough were credited with the assists.

Not long after, Calgary drew level. Adam Klapka’s wrist shot from the face off circle beat Šilovs’ shoulder and found the back of the net, levelling the game at 1-1. Klapka’s second of the year came 90 seconds after Sasson’s opener.

A handful of chances came on a pair of Abbotsford power plays late in the frame, but Wolf turned aside everything he faced for the rest of the period. The two sides broke for the locker room tied at 1-1, with the Canucks leading the shot count 18-5 after 20 minutes.

Calgary would answer back with a pair of goals around the mid-way mark of the second period. Brady Lyle put the Wranglers in front, before Klapka grabbed another to increase the Wranglers lead to 3-1 with 9:50 left in the middle frame.

That would be the only scoring action of the middle frame, as Abbotsford troubled Wolf with a handful of efforts, but couldn’t get on the board in the second period. Calgary lead 3-1 after 40 minutes.

Abbotsford came out with an attacking focus that resembled the opening period, and were pushing for their way back into the game. That opportunity came on a five minute powerplay when Christian Wolanin tee’d up Vasily Podkolzin for a one timer at the right face off circle.

Podkolzin’s slapshot made perfect contact and the puck flew past Wolf, bringing the Canucks within one with 11 minutes to play.

Podkolzin’s third tally of the season would be as close as the Canucks would come to pulling even in this one, as time expired with the score board reading 3-2 in favour of Calgary.

Abbotsford lead the shot count by a combined total of 30-9 from the first and third periods, leading 41-27 at the final buzzer. Artūrs Šilovs stopped 24 saves on the night, while Wolf turned aside 39.

The two teams face off again on Saturday night, before Abbotsford welcomes the Colorado Eagles to town on Tuesday and Wednesday night. Following those two games, which both get underway at 7:00pm, the Canucks will head south for a three game California road trip, visiting San Diego, Ontario, and Coachella Valley. To purchase tickets to an upcoming Canucks’ game, please click HERE.