The Abbotsford Canucks welcomed the Calgary Wranglers to the Abbotsford Centre for the second game of a three game series on Friday night. Fresh off of a 3-2 overtime defeat on Wednesday, Abbotsford looked to get back to winning ways in front of their home crowd.

Christian Wolanin came into Friday’s game leading The AHL in assists, having picked up 37 helpers through 36 games. Arsh Bains joins Wolanin on riding a hot streak, with the Surrey native having registered five points (3G and 2A) over his last five games.

Quinn Schmiemann made his return to the lineup, suiting up for the first time since January 4th next to Wyatt Kalynuk. Arturs Silovs took to the Abbotsford goal for the fourth time in five games, while it would be Oscar Dansk to start between the pipes for the Wranglers.

A tightly fought contest saw just seven combined shots through the opening fifteen minutes, as the score was knotted at zero for the majority of the first period. However when Connor Zary had the puck poked away by Kyle Rau, that score line would be quickly changed.

Collecting the puck in his own zone, Rau went storming through the neutral zone on a three-on-two breakout for the Canucks. Keeping the puck to himself, Rau fired a shot over the shoulder of Dansk to give Abbotsford the 1-0 lead. Rau’s ninth of the year was followed up just 17 seconds later by a Justin Dowling powerplay tally.

Some quick passing off of a faceoff win set up Tristen Nielsen to shoot from the top of the circle, forcing Dansk to make the save. However Dowling was quickest to react and roofed the puck over a sprawling Dansk to extend Abbotsford’s lead to 2-0.

The hosts weren’t finished there.

With just over a minute remaining in the frame, Phil Di Giuseppe jumped on a loose puck in his own zone, chipped the puck off the boards around a defender, and barrelled towards goal. Di Giuseppe, on the penalty kill nonetheless, shovelled the puck past Dansk to make it three goals in under four minutes.

Di Giuseppe’s tenth of the season was the final action of the period, sending Abbotsford into the locker room with a 3-0 lead.

Calgary would respond back early in the second, as Connor Zary finished off a pinball play in front of Silovs. Zary’s thirteenth of the year would be part of a three goal period for the Wranglers, with Ben Jones and Nicolas Meloche pulling the game back level.

Three unanswered goals from Calgary tied the game at three, despite Abbotsford outshooting the Wranglers 20-15 through the opening 40 minutes.

The deadlock would be broken just two minutes into the final frame, as Tristen Nielsen got on the end of a progressive pass from Höglander and streaking through the neutral zone. A well-executed toe drag move sent Nielsen through on goal, before backhanding the puck over the blocker of Dansk.

Nielsen’s sixth of the year looked as though it would be the difference maker, until Matthew Phillips notched his twenty third of the campaign with two and a half minutes remaining, sending this one to overtime for the second consecutive game between the two sides.

A continuous five minute spell of overtime was followed up by a shootout, the first at the Abbotsford Centre since October 29th.

Goals from Vasily Podkolzin and Nils Höglander weren’t enough, as Calgary went a perfect 3/3 to take the full two points. It took eight goals and over 65 minutes of hockey to decide a winner, as the Wranglers emerged as victors by a final score of 5-4.

Oscar Dansk saved 25 of the 29 shots he faced, as Kyle Rau and Tristen Nielsen both picked up multi-point games. Arturs Silovs turned aside 22 of the 26 shots he saw, and featured in his second shootout of the season.

For the full box score, please click HERE.

Up next for the Canucks is the third installment of this three game series with Calgary on Saturday night. Following that clash is a pair of mid-week games against the Toronto Marlies on January 24th and 25th at the Abbotsford Centre.

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