CANUCKS PICK UP POINT, FALL 2-1 IN SHOOTOUT LOSS TO COLORADO
For the fourth and final time this season, the Abbotsford Canucks and Colorado Eagles squared off on Sunday afternoon at Abbotsford Centre.
Matt Alfaro returned to the lineup for Abbotsford, while Nils Höglander, Kyle Rau and Justin Dowling all entered the contest with three game point streaks. Arturs Silovs was the starter in Abbotsford’s net, having won six of his last seven AHL contests. Justus Annunen returned to the Colorado goal after sitting behind Keith Kinkaid on Saturday night.
The chippy and aggressive tone set by Saturday’s clash continued into Sunday afternoon, with each side picking up a pair of penalties in the first period. Colorado outshot Abbotsford 15-11 through the opening 20 minutes, but both Silovs and Annunen were perfect through the first period. The two sides were sent back to the locker rooms tied at 0-0 after one period of action.
The middle frame provided the same path as the first, with neither side finding the score sheet. Both Silovs and Annunen were called upon to keep the game score less, with Abbotsford narrowly leading the shot count 22-21.
It would take until the 52nd minute of this contest for somebody to find the back of the net, and who else would it be other than Linus Karlsson. On the man advantage, Karlsson was set up in front of Annunen, as Arsh Bains played the puck back to the point for Justin Dowling. Dowling fired a wrist shot towards goal, and was deflected past the Eagles netminder by Karlsson to give Abbotsford the late 1-0 lead.
Karlsson’s 19th of the season was late, but the response by the Eagles was even later. With Annunen on the bench for an extra attacker, the clock was dwindling. In the dying seconds, Ryan Merkley walked into the faceoff circle and fired home a shot past a screened Silovs, knotting the game up at one.
Merkley’s second of the season sent the game into Overtime, securing both sides at least a point. The extra five minutes solved nothing, meaning this one needed a shootout to be decided.
It took nine rounds, and while Jett Woo and Linus Karlsson both scored for Abbotsford, the Eagles came away on top with goals from Alex Galchenyuk, Alex Beaucage and Justin Scott. Colorado took the game as 2-1 winners, with each side going 2-1-0-1 in the season series.
Justin Dowling extended his point streak to four games, while Abbotsford made it three games in a row where the powerplay unit converted. Silovs stopped 34 of the 35 efforts he saw prior to the shootout, while Annunen turned aside 40 of the 41 Abbotsford shots that he faced.
For the full AHL box score, please click HERE.
Up next for Abbotsford is a back-to-back series Ontario on Friday and Saturday nights before hitting the road for a five game road trip. The road trip begins on March 22nd with a stop in Bakersfield, while visiting Ontario and Manitoba as well. Following the five-game swing, Abbotsford returns home for five games to wrap up the regular season against the Reign and the Calgary Wranglers.
To purchase tickets to an upcoming Abbotsford Canucks’ game, please click HERE.