CANUCKS PUT UP FIGHT, UNABLE TO EXTINGUISH HEAT
For the second consecutive night, the Abbotsford Canucks put up a fight against the Stockton Heat, but it was once again the Heat holding on for the one-goal victory and prevailing by a 2-1 score Saturday night at Stockton Arena.
The win was the seventh consecutive for Stockton, as they now sit in a tie alongside the Ontario Reign with 15 points (7-0-1-0) atop the Pacific division.
Special teams was ultimately the difference in the game, as the Canucks went 0/6 on the man advantage, while the Heat capitalized on 1/4 opportunities. Goaltender Arturs Silovs (2-2-0-0) made 19 saves in the game for Abby, as the Riga, Latvia native made his fourth start of the season. Sheldon Rempal was the lone-goal scorer for the Canucks, picking up his first goal of the season at the 5:15 mark of the first.
Saturday also marked Canucks forward William Lockwood’s return to the lineup, as the 3rd-round Vancouver Canucks draft pick (64th overall, 2016) last played on Oct. 17.
The Canucks were the first to strike in the game, as Rempal scored his first goal of the season - and eighth point - off his own rebound to give Abbotsford its first lead of the weekend.
“It always seems like the hardest goal to get is the first of the season, so it was nice to get that one and start the game on the right foot,” Rempal said postgame.
The Heat’s best chance of the period came in the final minute on the man-advantage, but it was Silovs making a number of key saves from the slot to maintain the 1-0 lead. He would finish the first frame with 10 saves.
After the Abbotsford goaltender kept the Canucks in front with a short-handed save midway through the second, the Heat got their first goal at the 7:32 mark courtesy of Eetu Tuulola. A cross-checking call on Karel Plasek just moments later would put Abbotsford shorthanded, and Stockton would capitalize off a Matthew Phillips power-play goal to take a 2-1 lead.
Despite three power play chances in the second period, the Canucks were unable to get the equalizer and would head into the final frame down one goal. The third period saw the Canucks with an extra burst of energy and looking for the equalizer. Despite outshooting the Heat 10-5 in the final period, the Canucks would ultimately fall short.
“It’s certainly an empty feeling going home without any points this weekend,” Rempal added. “We had our chances late in the third period, and if a few bounces go our way we likely come out of this game with a different result. We learned a lot as a team over this weekend, and we’ll look to keep growing from here."
With the loss, Abbotsford moves into fifth place in the Pacific Division, having picked up just one point over the last four games (0-3-1-0).
The Canucks (3-4-2-0) will now head back home for a four-game home stand, beginning Friday Nov. 12 (7pm PT) and playing host to the San Jose Barracuda for Diwali Night at the Abbotsford Centre.