HÖGLANDER PICKS UP THREE POINTS, RATHBONE FIRES HOME WINNER IN 3-2 VICTORY OVER ONTARIO
Abbotsford took to the ice on Wednesday night at the Toyota Centre in southern California to face off with the Ontario Reign for just the second time this season. The two teams sat tied in points in the Pacific Division standings with 64. The Canucks entered the contest in third place while the host’s Ontario were holding fifth spot.
Linus Karlsson entered the game on a three game point streak with a goal and two assists over his last three contests. Wyatt Kalynuk and Arturs Silovs both returned to the lineup, while Dylan Macpherson made his Abbotsford Canucks’ debut.
Spencer Martin made his seventh consecutive start in the Abbotsford goal, while he faced Cal Petersen In the Ontario Reign net.
An even opening 20 minutes was displayed in front of the California crowd, and was seemingly destined to be a scoreless first frame. However Marc Gatcomb would help break the deadlock with seven minutes remaining.
Intercepting a pass in Abbotsford’s defensive zone, Gatcomb sprung forward on a two-on-one chance with Nils Höglander. Gatcomb squared the puck to Höglander, who calmly rounded Petersen in stride before burying his ninth goal of the campaign.
The Canucks thought they had added one more in the final minutes as the play stopped for a lengthy review of a Phil Di Giuseppe wraparound attempt. Following the official’s review of the play, the puck didn’t cross the line, keeping Abbotsford’s lead to 1-0.
That is how the period would end, with the visitors holding a one goal lead, as well as outshooting Ontario, 10-8.
It wouldn’t take long for the Reign to pull level, as five minutes into the frame, Alan Quine converted on the man advantage for his seventh of the season. Martin would be the busier of the two goalies in the second, with the Canucks giving up 13 shots.
With a breakaway save on Martin Chromiak as well as some impressive stops through traffic in his crease, Martin held the game level for the majority of the second period.
However in the final three minutes, Lias Andersson had his shot redirected in front by Samuel Helenius to beat Spencer Martin and give the Reign the 2-1 lead. That is how the scoreboard looked after 40 minutes as both sides were sent towards the locker rooms, with the Reign also outshooting Abbotsford 21-15.
Once again, it would be Nils Höglander who got the Canucks on the scoresheet, this time it would be another breakaway effort seven minutes into the third period. With a Reign defender dragged all over him, Höglander shrugged off the opposition and shifted the puck to his backhand before roofing the puck over Petersen.
Abbotsford didn’t stop there, as Höglander spun away from a defender and slipped the puck back to the point for Jack Rathbone just minutes later. Rathbone stepped into the slapshot and fired home a rocket of a shot for his third goal of the season and Abbotsford’s third of the night.
Holding onto a slim one goal lead, the Canucks killed a crucial penalty in the final stages and finished the job in Ontario, taking the contest 3-2 for their second consecutive victory.
Nils Höglander picked up his second multi point night in the last five games with two goals and an assist, improving his hot streak to 12 points in his last 10 games. Spencer Martin turned aside 30 of the 32 Ontario efforts he saw, while Abbotsford tucked away three of their 20 shots on the Reign goal.
For the full AHL box score, please click HERE.
Up next for the Canucks is a pair of games in Henderson, as they square off with the Silver Knights for the final times this season. The contests get underway from The Dollar Loan Center at 7:00pm on Thursday and Saturday nights, March 2nd and 4th respectively. Following those games, the team will return home for a six game homestand, with games against Manitoba, Colorado and Ontario.
The homestand kicks off with two games against the Moose on March 7th and 8th at Abbotsford Centre.
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