CANUCKS FALL 4-2 IN COLORADO DESPITE GOALS FROM GATCOMB AND KARLSSON
For the first time in 348 days, the Abbotsford Canucks took to the ice to square off with the Colorado Eagles on Friday night. The two were separated by just one point coming into the contest, and would be the first of four matchups in the span of just over two weeks.
Vincent Arseneau skated in his 200th career AHL game on Friday, while Matt Alfaro, Phil Di Giuseppe, Marc Gatcomb and Chad Nychuk all made their returns to the lineup. Tristen Nielsen entered the game with 13 points over his last 11 games, including riding a three game point streak.
Spencer Martin took to the Abbotsford crease for the fifth consecutive game, while it was Justis Annunen who was guarding the Eagles goal.
It would take just two and a half minutes for some bad blood to boil over as Vincent Arseneau dropped Justin Scott in a tussle following a hit on Matt Alfaro. However Colorado would strike first to get on the score board, as Alex Beaucage notched his fifth of the season on a wraparound effort with six minutes gone.
Wyatt Aamodt doubled Colorado’s lead 31 seconds later, as he walked in and put one past Martin from the faceoff circle.
Most of the action from the opening frame came in that thirty second span, as Colorado took the 2-0 lead into the locker rooms at the first intermission. The Eagles also outshot Abbotsford 10-6 through 20 minutes.
The second period would lean more into Abbotsford’s favour, starting with a pair of impressive penalty kills where they generated some shorthanded chances of their own. However it would take until the final five minutes for the Canucks to get on the board in the second, as Nils Höglander broke froward with Marc Gatcomb.
Höglander let his shot fly which was denied by Annunen, however the rebound fell straight into the path of Gatcomb. The Woburn, Massachusetts native buried his first career AHL goal and second career pro-point, which lifted the Canucks to within one of the hosts.
Before the period was out, Linus Karlsson made sure that the teams were level as he broke forward down the right boards all by himself, before firing the puck between Annunen’s pads for his team leading 16th goal of the season.
The late rally from Abbotsford sent the team’s to the intermission tied at 2, with the Eagles narrowly leading the shot count 19-18.
The hosts would grab the lead back in the early goings of the third period thanks to Charles Hudon’s team leading 18th of the season. After Martin denied a Jean-Luc Foudy effort from a sharp angle, the rebound fell straight to Hudon. The forward tapped in Colorado’s third of the night to give themselves a 3-2 lead. As the clock was winding down, Callahan Burke added his name to the score sheet with an empty net goal inside the final 90 seconds of the contest. The Eagles would snap their losing skid and take the game by a final score of 4-2.
Chad Nychuk picked up his first career point with a secondary assist on Gatcomb’s goal, while Nils Höglander put up three shots, making it four games in a row he has hit or passed that amount. Spencer Martin made 23 saves on 26 shot attempts, while Justis Annunen made 25 saves for his 17th win of the season.
For the full AHL Box Score, please click HERE.
Up next for the Canucks is a rematch in Colorado on Saturday night at 6:05pm pst. Following their weekend in the Rockies, Abbotsford travels to Ontario for their second meeting with the Reign this season on Wednesday March 1st. Following two more road games in Henderson, the team returns home for a six game home stand starting on March 7th with games against Manitoba, Colorado and Ontario.
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