The Abbotsford Canucks welcomed playoff rival Bakersfield Condors to Abbotsford Centre on Thursday night, kicking off an eight game season series between the two sides.

Sheldon Dries centered Arshdeep Bains and Marc Gatcomb, while the line of Aatu Räty, Max Sasson and Linus Karlsson stuck together. Ty Glover played alongside Nils Åman and Danila Klimovich, who was making his home debut on the season. Josh Bloom, Josh Passolt and Alex Kannok Leipert rounded out the Abbotsford forward group. Jeremy Colliton made no changes to his defensive pairings, with Artūrs Šilovs getting the start after his shutout victory on Saturday.

Jack Campbell, who was making his Condors debut, started in goal for Bakersfield in what was his first AHL game since December 2018.

Seth Griffith opened up his scoring account for the year in the opening minutes, as Greg McKegg dropped the puck into Griffith’s path, who threw the puck on goal from the left faceoff circle. The puck beat Šilovs, giving the visitors the early one goal lead.

Just past the midway mark of the period, Abbotsford found themselves on the penalty kill and in their own zone. Adam Erne overskated the puck at the blue line, with Nils Åman scooping up possession and charged the length of the ice towards Campbell. Campbell originally made the pad save, but Åman followed up the rebound and stuck the puck into the back of the net for his team leading sixth goal of the season.

Åman’s shorthanded marker would send both teams into the dressing room level at 1-1, in a closely fought opening 20 minutes.

This time it would be Abbotsford who would jump out in the early minutes, and once again it came on the penalty kill. Christian Wolanin chipped the puck ahead for Dries, who saucered the pass over to Karlsson. After taking a half second to control it, Karlsson dragged the puck past a defender before setting up Dries at the back post. He would tuck the puck in the back of the net and wheel away in celebration, giving Abbotsford the 2-1 lead thanks to Dries’ fifth of the year.

Åman would double his total on the night near the midway mark, shovelling a pass from Klimovich towards Campbell. The puck managed to sneak through the Condors netminder for Abbotsford’s third of the night, and the Canucks weren’t done their either.

Filip Johansson fired a shot from the blue line towards goal, with a pair of bodies in front. Campbell batted away the first effort, but the rebound fell to Marc Gatcomb who was waiting in front of the crease. Gatcomb slid the puck five hole on Campbell, making it four consecutive goals for Abbotsford. Gatcomb’s second of the season came in the final five minutes of the frame, and would create a 4-1 score line at the second intermission.

Abbotsford would hold onto that three goal lead all the way through to the end, making it back to back victories on home ice with a 4-1 win on Thursday night. Nils Åman picked up a pair of goals, while Arshdeep Bains tied the league high for points with 17 thanks to an assist on Gatcomb’s goal. Klimovich and Passolt both picked up their first points on the season on Åman’s second goal, while Dries also had a multi point night (1G, 1A).

Artūrs Šilovs stopped 19 of the 20 efforts he faced, while Jack Campbell made 16 saves on 20 Abbotsford shots.

The two sides will meet again on Saturday night, before the Canucks embark on a four game road trip stopping in Henderson on November 17th and 18th, and then fly home for a couple of days before heading over to face Calgary on November 25th and 26th. Abbotsford will then return home for two games against Laval on December 1st and 2nd (Teddy Bear Toss), and wrapping up with a pair of home games against Coachella Valley a week later. To purchase tickets to an upcoming Abbotsford Canucks’ game, please click HERE.