The Abbotsford Canucks continued their California road trip on Sunday afternoon with a visit to Toyota Arena to square off with the Ontario Reign. Abbotsford, winners of three straight games, and Ontario, winners of four straight, opened up their eight game season series with the matinee matchup.

Alex Kannok Leipert made his season debut, lining up alongside Josh Bloom and Ty Glover, who was also making his Canucks’ debut. Nikita Tolopilo replaced Artūrs Šilovs in the Abbotsford net, while Erik Portillo suited up for the Reign.

A tightly fought opening period was almost in the books, when Cole Krygier took the puck forward and slotted home the game’s first goal. The tally came with 55 seconds remaining, and was Krygier’s first goal of the season. The period would wind to a close with the Reign in front, leading 1-0.

Ontario would double their advantage at the midway point of the period with a deflection from Francesco Pinelli. Steven Santini sent a wrist shot towards goal, before Pinelli deflected the effort under the arm of Tolopilo.

Abbotsford was able to get on the board with six minutes remaining in the frame, as Arshdeep Bains chased the puck behind the Reign goal. A no look, back hand pass to Sheldon Dries allowed for a quick finish into the roof of the net, pulling Abbotsford within one. The goal was Dries’ second of the year, and Bains’ team leading 10th point.

2-1 is how the second period came to a close, with Nikita Tolopilo making some key saves to keep the deficit at one for Abbotsford.

Charles Hudon would open the third period with a goal for the Reign, finishing off a scramble in front of the net to extend the Ontario lead to 3-1.

Less than two minutes later, the Canucks would claw back once again, this time coming from the stick of Jett Woo. Josh Bloom and John Stevens connected to find Woo open at the blue line, who let fly a first time effort with traffic in front. The puck soared perfectly into the top corner, opening Woo’s goal scoring account for the year. The assist for Bloom would be his first in the AHL.

Five minutes later, Jacob Doty re-established the two goal margin. After being set up from a forecheck press by Nikita Pavlychev, Doty went glove side on Tolopilo to make it 4-2 Reign with 11 minutes remaining in the third.

Abbotsford fought until the end, as Sheldon Dries grabbed a powerplay goal in the final four minutes, his second of the night and once again brought the Canucks within one. Linus Karlsson and Christian Wolanin picked up the assists on the play, with Dries getting the final touch on a mad scramble in front of Portillo.

Ontario would grab a late empty net goal to seal the 5-3 victory, snapping Abbotsford’s win streak while increasing their own to five straight games.

Wolanin’s assist on Dries’ second goal increased his personal point streak to eight, picking up one goal and twelve assists to open the season. Tolopilo managed to stop 26 of the 30 Ontario efforts he faced, while Portillo made 25 saves on the night.

The Canucks will wrap up their road trip in Coachella Valley on Tuesday night with their first ever visit to Acrisure Arena. The team will then return home for a four game home stand where they’ll face the Henderson Silver Knights on November 3rd and 4th (Diwali Night), and the Bakersfield Condors on November 9th and 11th.

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