KYLE RAU SCORES TWICE IN 6-2 ABBOTSFORD VICTORY OVER SAN JOSE
The Abbotsford Canucks welcomed the San Jose Barracuda to the Abbotsford Centre on Tuesday night, for the first of two back to back games against the Sharks AHL affiliate.
Despite being without their lead scorer in Lane Pederson, who was recalled earlier in the week to Vancouver, Abbotsford received help in the shape of Nils Hoglander and Travis Dermott when they were re-assigned to Abbotsford on Monday.
It would be Hoglander’s first ever AHL appearance, while the occasion would mark Dermott’s return to the AHL, having last played in the 2017-18 campaign.
Abbotsford’s Linus Karlsson would enter the game eight points in his last nine games, while Christian Wolanin would sit one assist shy of leading the AHL in helpers. Arturs Silovs would get the start in net after returning from backing up Spencer Martin in Vancouver on Monday night.
Silovs would be facing off with Barracuda netminder Aaron Dell, who would be making his return to the city of Abbotsford, having played for the discontinued Abbotsford Heat franchise. Dell held a 4-5-0-1 record heading into Tuesday night, while Silvos sat at 9-5-2-1.
On a snowy Abbotsford evening, the puck was dropped and the season series was underway.
For the Canucks, it would get off to a dream start.
Christian Wolanin would fire a slapshot from the point too far wide of Dell’s goal, however the rebound off of the boards fell perfectly to a waiting Kyle Rau. Having to go from post to post, Dell was too slow at covering the far side as Rau buried his sixth of the season. Four minutes into the contest, Abbotsford were on the board.
The pressure didn’t stop there, as Dell was forced into action a number of times in the opening frame, having to bail out his defence on multiple occasions. Yet it would be a Phil Di Giuseppe forecheck that would beat the netminder.
Taking the puck behind his own goal for cover, Barracuda defenceman Artemi Kniazev tried to hold off Di Giuseppe who was hot on his tail. Kniazev slipped and turned the puck over to Di Giuseppe in the slot.
Di Giuseppe would lose the handle on the puck, however it would fall perfectly to John Stevens, who fired home his sixth of the year, and Abbotsford’s second of the period. The clock ran down to triple zeros, and having faced just four shots in the frame, Silovs lead the Canucks to the locker room with a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.
San Jose would start off the second period in a much more aggressive manner, bringing the pressure onto the Canucks defence. It would take just over five minutes for the Barracuda to sneak one past Silovs, where Andrew Agozzino would score in a similar fashion to Rau, a bank pass from behind the goal. The Canucks would rally back quickly after, putting an end to San Jose’s hot start to the second. This time it would be Justin Dowling to re-establish the two goal lead for Abbotsford.
On the powerplay, Dowling connected with Christian Wolanin at the point, setting up shop in the corner along the goal line. An attempted pass to find Tristen Nielsen in front of goal ended up taking a touch off of a Barracuda stick and beating Dell for the Canucks’ third goal of the night.
The goal would be credited to Dowling for his fifth of the season, while Wolanin would be the new AHL leader in assists and third overall in total scoring.
Dowling and Wolanin would be on the scoresheet once more before the end of the period, this time both helping set up Will Lockwood on the power play. Some quick passing down low found Lockwood in the right faceoff circle, who fired a quick shot over the glove of Dell.
Abbotsford lead 4-1, and it would end that way after forty minutes.
The Canucks would pull away even further thanks to a beautiful move by Di Giuseppe in the opening minutes of the third period. Picking the pocket of a Barracuda in Abbotsford territory, Di Giuseppe took the puck coast to coast, closing down on Dell.
With all sorts of time and space, Di Giuseppe calmly rounded Dell and slotted home his third of the year unassisted. The tally made it 5-1 Abbotsford early in the third, which would soon be pushed to 6-1.
Will Lockwood stickhandled through multiple checks from the boards towards the goal, before feeding Kyle Rau across the crease. Rau rifled home his second of the night to increase the gap to five goals.
The Barracuda would grab one back in the final minute, but that would be as close as it would come. Abbotsford took the game 6-2 and picked up their eighth win in their last ten games.
Arturs Silovs stopped 22 of 24 shots, while six players on Abbotsford picked up multiple points. For tonight’s full box score, click HERE.
Up next for the Canucks is the conclusion of the back-to-back against San Jose on Wednesday night at 7:00pm. That game will mark the final Abbotsford home game of 2022, as the team hits the road for a pair of games against Manitoba on December 30th and 31st.
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