The Abbotsford Canucks welcomed the Toronto Marlies to the Abbotsford Centre on Wednesday night, concluding both a back-to-back against the Marlies and a five game home stand.

Wednesday night saw the return of Matt Alfaro and Alex Kannok Leipert to the Canucks’ lineup, marking the first game without Phil Di Giuseppe, who had been called up to Vancouver earlier in the day. Chase Wouters passed John Stevens for the most games played for Abbotsford all time (98).

Arturs Silovs made his fifth start in eight days in the Abbotsford goal, while Erik Källgren picked up his ninth start of the season (4-3-1-0) for Toronto.

It would take just over eight minutes for the deadlock to be broken, and it would come off the stick of Arsh Bains. Noah Juulsen came down the left wing, before feeding the puck over to the Chase Wouters between the circles. His effort deflected off of Bains’ stick, sending the puck through the five-hole of Källgren.

Bains’s effort would be his sixth tally of the year, and would be the lone scoring action of the opening period. Silovs made a few key saves to keep the Marlies off the board, with the Canucks being outshot 9-7 through twenty minutes.

Toronto wouldn’t be kept off the board for much longer, as Adam Gaudette converted on a breakaway in the opening minutes of the second to tie the game up at one.

A few minutes later, the Marlies would pick up their first lead of the series, as Marc Johnstone buried the puck in the midst of a mad scramble in front of Silovs, giving the Marlies the 2-1 lead.

The second period would wind down, and Toronto would take that 2-1 lead into the locker room at the second intermission. Despite Toronto outshooting Abbotsford 20-17, neither side had got the powerplay going yet, with each team going 0/3 through forty minutes.

That stat would soon change less than seven minutes into the third, when Linus Karlsson went storming down the right wing. Shaking off a slash, Karlsson rifled the puck over Källgren’s shoulder to level the game at two. Karlsson’s thirteenth of the season came on the man advantage.

As the clock wound down towards the end of the third, Toronto were able to find a go-ahead goal by Marc Johnstone, who banged home a rebound in front of the crease. Johnstone’s fourth of the season turned out to be the deciding factor in Wednesday’s clash, as Toronto held on and walked out as 3-2 winners.

Silovs picked up 29 saves on 32 shots, while Johnstone and Kyle Clifford both finished up with multi-point nights.

For the full AHL box score, please click HERE.

Up next for the Canucks is a five game road trip, with stops in Tucson, San Diego and San Jose. Following their five game southern stint, Abbotsford hosts the Tucson Roadrunners in a pair of games on February 10th and 11th, with Friday night being Celebrate The Sedins Night.

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