CANUCKS FALL TO LAVAL 4-2 IN OPENING GAME OF ROAD TRIP
The Abbotsford Canucks paid visit to Quebec, starting a six game road trip on Wednesday with a clash against the Laval Rocket. Abbotsford are 3-1 all time against the Montreal Canadiens affiliate, despite falling 3-0 in Laval the last time the Canucks visited Bell Place in March.
An addition the Abbotsford side since that meeting would be Christian Wolanin, who’s appearance in Wednesday’s game would be his 100th in the AHL. Rookie Arsh Bains came into the game with six assists in his previous six games, with his total falling just one behind the team leader Linus Karlsson, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Wednesday.
Collin Delia would get the nod from head coach Jeremy Colliton, starting his fourth game of the season for Abbotsford. Sitting at 2-1-0-0 with a .865 save percentage. Across from Delia would be Cayden Primeau in the Laval net, looking to improve upon his 2-4-2-0 record to open his fourth season with the Rocket.
It would be a bit of a homecoming for Noah Juulsen, who was drafted in the first round by the Montreal Canadiens, and played parts of three seasons in Laval. Guillaume Brisebois also played nine games with Laval in the 2020-21 season.
Former Abbotsford blue liner Madison Bowey would play for the first time against the Fraser Valley side, having played 55 games in the Canucks inaugural season and registering 28 points (8 goals and 20 assists).
Delia would be tested early, getting just enough of a Jan Mysak effort to have the puck graze the outside of the post. However Anthony Richard would make sure his effort wouldn’t be denied.
Richard fired a snapshot from the right faceoff circle, which was dealt with by Delia. Yet the rebound would fall right into the slot, and jumped on quickly by Richard. A quick finish over a sprawling Delia opened the scoring up for the home team halfway through the opening frame.
Laval would go on to double their advantage just six minutes later, Bowey let a shot go from the point. Lucas Condotta, who was setting the screen in front of Delia, blocked Bowey’s shot, knocking over Delia in the process. With Delia seemingly out of the play and a wide open cage, Corey Schueneman buried home his second of the year. Despite multiple Abbotsford players wanting to see a goalie interference call, the score remained 2-0 Laval.
At least until the Canucks were given their second powerplay opportunity of the game. Mitchell Stephens tripped up captain Chase Wouters, sending Abbotsford to the powerplay in the final minutes of the first. Justin Dowling found himself with all sorts of time on the right boards, who walked in and delivered an inch perfect pass to Tristen Nielsen.
Battling in front, Nielsen got enough of the puck to redirect it past Primeau to cut the deficit to one. That would be the final scoring action of the first period, with the hosts Laval holding a 2-1 lead. It would take just five minutes into the second period for Laval to re-establish their two goal lead. Despite an Abbotsford powerplay with a handful of dangerous chances, as Justin Barron exited the penalty box, he joined in an odd man rush with Troy Dello and Rafael Harvey-Pinard.
Dello’s shot was originally saved and batted aside by the Canucks netminder, however the rebound fell straight to Harvey-Pinard who tucked home his fifth of the year to make it 3-1 in favour of the Rocket.
The Canucks responded well, with three flurries in front of Primeau’s net in a three minute span in the middle of the frame, however they were unable to find a way past the Rocket goaltender. Despite a late 2-man advantage for Abbotsford, Laval’s two goal lead held up through forty minutes.
Abbotsford opened the third period flying out of the gate offensively, even generating chances short handed with Lane Pederson in the box for tripping.
Late in the frame, with Abbotsford pushing for their second of the night, Jeremy Colliton pulled Delia on the man advantage. However it would be a long range finish into the empty net from Anthony Richard from inside his own blue line to make it 4-1 Laval.
Lane Pederson would pull one back for Abbotsford in the dying minutes, with the helpers being credited to Wolanin and Nielsen. Despite the late surge, Abbotsford couldn’t pull level, falling by a final score of 4-2.
Abbotsford move on to face the Toronto Marlies this weekend with a pair of back to back games in Toronto on Saturday and Sunday. Then the Canucks will get the chance for revenge against the Rocket next Wednesday (November 23rd), as they return to Place Bell.
For the full box score from tonight’s game, please click HERE.