CANUCKS ROUND OUT HOME STAND WITH EMPHATIC 5-2 VICTORY OVER ONTARIO
The Abbotsford Canucks closed out their six game home stand on Saturday night with a rematch of Friday’s matchup with the Ontario Reign.
The night would be a memorable one for Justin Dowling, who skated in his 500th AHL game. Dowling entered the contest on a five-game point streak, and is only five assists away from 250 AHL assists in his career.
Arturs Silovs took over for Spencer Martin in the Abbotsford goal, after Martin picked up his first AHL shutout of the season. Meanwhile in the Reign goal, Cal Petersen looked for a bounce back performance after suffering a 4-0 defeat on Friday night.
Ontario certainly seemed as though they had worked out a few kinks as they began Saturday’s game on the front foot. The team would put 12 pucks on goal in the opening frame, with Silovs turning all of them aside. Despite outshooting Abbotsford 12-5, neither side could break the deadlock in the opening 20 minutes.
Just over two minutes into the second period, the Canucks would open the scoring for the sixth consecutive game.
Marc Gatcomb and Aatu Räty broke forward with Matt Alfaro through the neutral zone. A lead pass intended for Räty missed the target and bounced off the back wall, falling perfectly to Alfaro along the far borads. An instant snapshot from Alfaro fooled Petersen and found the back of the net for Alfaro’s second of the season.
Four minutes later, Abbotsford would double their lead through their leading goal scorer, Linus Karlsson. Quinn Schmiemann flipped the puck towards center ice, with Arsh Bains getting on the end of it and maneuvering around a defender. From the left boards, he slid the puck to the back post where Karlsson steered home his 20th of the season, setting Abbotsford up with a 2-0 lead.
Ontario would grab one back, coming on their 26th shot of the night, all before the midway mark of the second. Lias Andersson broke out in front of Silovs and finally the LA Kings affiliate were able to find the back of the net this weekend. Andersson’s team leading 24th goal of the season came with 10 minutes remaining in the middle frame, however there would be one more addition to the score sheet before the intermission.
Matt Alfaro batted the puck into the neutral zone, with Arsh Bains chasing the puck all the way down the ice. A slick move around Taylor Ward sent the Reign defender crashing to the ice, before wristing the puck past Petersen’s blocker. The goal was Bains’ first short-handed goal of his AHL career, and came with just 45 seconds left in the period.
Abbotsford took the 3-1 lead into the intermission, despite being outshot 33-12 through 40 minutes.
Matt Alfaro would continue with his third-career multi point game in the opening minutes of the third, as he broke forward with Marc Gatcomb. Gatcomb flipped Alfaro the puck, who snapped it over the glove of Petersen for his second of the game and third goal of the season just two minutes into the final frame.
Jett Woo wanted to add his name to the score sheet, picking up his second goal and fourth point through his last five games. Woo collected a fanned pass in his own zone, taking it the length of the ice before back-handing the puck over the shoulder of Petersen. Woo’s fourth goal of the season came at the mid-way point of the third period.
Lias Andersson would grab a consolation goal with six minutes left, but that would be as close as it got as the Canucks’ walked away as 5-2 winners. The win rounded out the six game homestand with nine of a possible twelve points, and opened up an 11 point gap over 5th place Ontario.
Arturs Silovs stopped a career-high 42 saves in the contest, while Matt Alfaro registered his first-career multi-goal AHL game. Cal Petersen stopped 19 of the 24 Abbotsford shots he faced, and Lias Andersson snapped his 11 game goalless drought.
To view the full AHL box score, please click HERE.
Up next for the Canucks is their final road trip of the regular season, with a single game in Bakersfield on Wednesday, before a weekend series in Ontario. Following the Sunday afternoon game against the Reign, Abbotsford finishes their road trip with a pair of games next Thursday and Saturday in Manitoba against the Moose. The Canucks then play five games at home to wrap up the year against Ontario and Calgary.
To purchase tickets to an upcoming Abbotsford Canucks game, please click HERE.