THE BEST INAUGURAL SEASON MOMENTS: APRIL'S NINE GAME WIN STREAK
With the dust of Abbotsford's playoff efforts settled, it is time to close the door on the Canucks' Inaugural Season in the AHL. However before the calendar flips to 2022/23, how about a trip down memory lane? Today marks the final day of our series recapping memorable moments from the team's inaugural campaign in Abbotsford.
Following yesterday's piece re-visiting the Abbotsford Canucks' Women in Sports Night AVAILABLE HERE, the team's franchise record nine game win streak get's today's spotlight.
Having gone 7-4-3 over the month of March, Abbotsford was rounding into form at the right time. With the playoffs looming, it seemed clear that Abbotsford would finish above the line and book their ticket to the post-season. However, nobody expected Abbotsford to rattle off nine consecutive wins in their final 11 games.
Kicking off the April win streak was a back to back against the Laval Rocket at home. Taking the games by scores of 6-1 and 3-1, Jack Rathbone put up five points across the two games. Rathbone's slapshot goal late in the second game secured not only the two points, but Abbotsford's spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Up next was Abbotsford's "Fan Appreciation Weekend" a week later, with a pair of games against the San Diego Gulls. This time around it would be Abbotsford's depth who carried them on, winning 6-3 and 5-2. Across the weekend, ten of their eleven goals were scored by a player with nine or fewer goals on the season at that point.
Following that, the team kicked off a four game California road trip in San Jose taking on the Barracuda. Falling behind 2-0 early on, the team rallied back thanks to goals from Justin Dowling, Sheldon Rempal and Devante Stephens to force overtime. Dowling would grab the overtime winner, marking his first multi-goal AHL game since March 2017.
A short drive out to Bakersfield later, the Canucks were facing the Condors in what would be their sixth consecutive win, tying their franchise record. Facing a 1-0 deficit late in the first, Justin Bailey kicked off the comeback just before the intermission. Matt Alfaro and Chase Wouters added their names to the scoresheet, sealing the deal with a 3-1 victory.
A rematch with the Gulls seemingly followed a recent trend, with Abbotsford falling behind early. Down 4-1 after 40 minutes, Justin Bailey grabbed his second of the night and Sheldon Rempal added his name to the scoresheet, but the clock was ticking. Enter Jack Rathbone. A slapshot from the blue line tied the game up with 25 seconds to go, sending the game into overtime. Justin Bailey would get on the end of a loose rebound in the slot, and shovel home his third of the night, securing a come from behind win, good enough for their seventh consecutive victory.
Yet again, Abbotsford managed to claw their back for victory number eight. This time, it would be against the league leading Stockton Heat, who had had the Canucks' number all year. Down 4-3 in the dying minutes, Justin Dowling grabbed his second of the night, sending the game to overtime yet again. Sheldon Rempal, who already had two assists on the night, let a wrister fly from the left face-off circle to secure the two points for Abbotsford.
After a perfect road trip, Abbotsford returned home for their final home game of the regular season against the Condors. A massive two points were on the line in terms of final seeding within the Pacific Division. Once again, the team rallied back to take the game 4-2 in front of their home fans. Having won nine consecutive games, the team rocketed up the standings over the final few weeks of the season. Picking up 35 of a possible 54 points in the final two months, the team found themselves set to face the Bakersfield Condors in the opening round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.