The Abbotsford Canucks started off their six game home stand on Tuesday night for the first of two back-to-back matchups with the Manitoba Moose. Abbotsford lead the season series 3-1-0-0 coming into the contest, and sat in third place in the Pacific Division.

Linus Karlsson entered Tuesday tied with Jack Rathbone for the franchise record for rookie points with 40, while Matt Alfaro made his return to the lineup. Spencer Martin made his ninth start in the last ten games in the Abbotsford goal, while Arvid Holm was between the pipes for the visiting Moose.

It would be a wild opening period, with the scoring starting just 81 seconds into the contest. Marc Gatcomb and Aatu Räty worked together in the Manitoba zone to squeeze the puck back to the point, where Quinn Schmiemann controlled possession. The blue liner fired a wrist shot towards Holm, beating the Manitoba netminder over the glove for the game’s first goal.

Schmiemann’s second career professional goal was quickly followed up by another Abbotsford tally, this time coming from the stick of Vincent Arseneau just three minutes later. Chase Wouters won the faceoff from the left faceoff circle back to Chad Nychuk at the blue line. A quick dish down to the boards found Arseneau, who walked in and fired the puck over Holm’s shoulder, doubling Abbotsford’s advantage.

It looked as though Abbotsford would take the two goal lead into the first intermission, however Jeff Malot and Daniel Torgersson both tallied for the Moose inside the final two minutes of the frame. Malott picked up his 18th, while Torgersson registered his eighth goal of the season 40 seconds apart.

The period would come to a close with the sides level at 2-2. Manitoba had outshot Abbotsford 11-6 through 20 minutes, while Abbotsford were able to successfully kill off the lone penalty of the game so far.

The second period flowed by quickly, with both sides registering a handful of chances, highlighted by a cross-crease save by Spencer Martin on Alex Limoges. However it wouldn’t go by without somebody breaking the deadlock.

Leon Gawanke moved around the Abbotsford defence before throwing an effort towards Martin. The Canucks goaltender made the initial save, however the rebound fell straight to Limoges in the crease who steered the puck into the net. The tally came with just 15 seconds remaining in the middle frame, giving the visitors a 3-2 lead at the second intermission.

It would take just over six minutes into the third period, but the Canucks would soon draw level. Justin Dowling was sent down the left hand boards by Nils Höglander, setting up a two-on-one breakaway with Kyle Rau joining in on the attack.

Dowling would draw the lone Moose defender before dishing the puck over to Rau, who wired the puck past a sprawling Holm for Abbotsford’s third of the game. Rau’s 14th of the year levelled the game up at three apiece, before Manitoba regained the lead a minute and a half later.

Former Abbotsford Canuck Ashton Sautner fired a shot from the slot that sailed just wide of Martin’s goal, however Malott was the quickest off the mark and finished the chance past Martin to set Manitoba up with a single goal lead.

Abbotsford trailed 4-3 and couldn’t find their way back into the game, meaning Manitoba took the contest and the full points.

Zach Guittari, who made his home debut on the night, was tied for the team lead in shots for Abbotsford with three, as Aatu Räty and Justin dowling also picked up three. Three members of the Moose picked up multi point games, including a three assist night from Jansen Harkins. Spencer Martin made 28 saves on 32 attempts, while Arvid Holm stopped 20 of the 23 shots he faced on the night.

For the full AHL box score, please click HERE.

Up next for Abbotsford is a rematch with Manitoba on Wednesday night, before a visit from Colorado as the Eagles come to town. The pair of games get underway on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at Abbotsford Centre. Then it will be a week of rest for the team, followed by a rematch with the Ontario Reign on Friday March 17th and Saturday March 18th.

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