The Abbotsford Canucks welcomed the Henderson Silver Knights to the Abbotsford Centre on Friday night for the first home game of 2023. The teams had split the season series through the opening four games 2-2, with Henderson taking the previous meeting on December 17th 3-0.

Jett Woo featured in his 100th AHL game on Friday night, as he was paired with AHL assist leader Christian Wolanin on the blue line. Fellow defenseman Guillaume Brisebois made his return to the lineup after missing a pair of games due to injury.

Jake Kupsky got the nod from Jeremy Colliton to start between the pipes for Abbotsford, making just his second career AHL start. Kupsky’s only other start in the American League came on that December 17th clash in Nevada.

Jiri Patera would be the man 200 feet away in the Henderson net, and wouldn’t be tested until the deadlock was broken.

Brendan Brisson would open the scoring on the second shot of the game, who would deflect a Connor Corcoran shot under the arm of Kupsky for Brisson’s fifth of the year. The game took 91 seconds to find the opening goal, and it would take another 1:44 to find another.

Guillaume Brisebois took the puck down the left boards and threw the puck towards Patera, where he found Arsh Bains streaking towards the back post. Bains jammed the puck under the pad of an outstretched Patera to level the game at one just over three minutes into the game. The tally would be Bains’ third of the year and first on home ice.

Three minutes later, Abbotsford struck again.

Arsh Bains broke forward with Chase Wouters and Danila Klimovich through the neutral zone, setting up a three-on-two. Bains pulled both defenders towards him before sending over a saucer pass to a waiting Klimovich on the left side. A first time slapshot flew into the empty cage past a sprawling Patera to give Abbotsford the 2-1 lead as well as Klimovich’s seventh goal of the year.

Vasily Podkolzin would add a late one on the powerplay, who’s wrist shot flew over the blocker of Patera and boosted Abbotsford’s lead to two. The 3-1 score line would be stand until the end of the first, with the hosts outshooting Henderson 13-5 in the opening 20.

The Golden Knights affiliate would answer back with a powerplay goal of their own early in the second, as Byron Froese picked up his seventh of the year less than two minutes into the second.

Henderson would grab the only other goal of the second period when Gage Quinney’s shot pinged off the backbar and beat Kupsky blocker-side to level the game up at three. Quinney’s team leading 14th of the year came with 12 minutes remaining in the second, and was the final addition to the scoresheet before the end of the frame. The score remained level at three deep into the third period, as a Noah Juulsen slapshot ringing off the post seeming like the closest anyone would get to breaking the deadlock before overtime.

Yet, it would be Phil Di Giuseppe who put Abbotsford ahead with just over a minute remaining in the third. A Christian Wolanin slapshot from the point whistled wide of the net, however the bounce off of the boards fell straight to Di Giuseppe beside the goal.

With a Henderson defenceman draped all over him, Di Giuseppe shrugged off the opposition and backhanded the puck over the pad of a fully-stretched Patera. Phil’s seventh of the year is his seventh in a little over a month, catching goal-scoring form on the top lines.

Di Giuseppe’s tally would prove to be the difference maker, but not before a frantic final minute in front of both Jake Kupsky and the Henderson empty net. Sheldon Rempal struck iron with under two seconds to go, which would be as close as Henderson would get to salvaging a point.

The game finished as Abbotsford held onto the 4-3 score line, giving Jake Kupsky his first career AHL victory with 22 saves on 25 shots.

“It was awesome, obviously not the cleanest win. But I feel like that’s been my journey so far, so it’s awesome that the guys stuck with me. To be able to get the two points is an incredible feeling”. – Jake Kupsky.

Aside from Kupsky’s 22 saves, Danila Klimovich registered a multi-point game for the third time in 12 contests, and Arsh Bains picked up a pair of points to make it six in his last five games.

For the full box score from tonight’s game, please click HERE.

Up next for Abbotsford is a rematch with the Silver Knights on Saturday night at the Abbotsford Centre, with the puck dropping at 7:00pm. Following that, the team will travel to San Jose for a pair of games on the road next weekend on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon before returning home for a five game home-stand.

To purchase tickets to an upcoming Abbotsford Canucks’ game, please click HERE.