Thanks you fans! Abbotsford Canucks


ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - The Abbotsford Canucks (4-4-2-0) defeated the San Jose Barracuda (3-4-1-0) with an emphatic 7-1 victory on Diwali Night, presented by Nanak Foods and Sher Atta Friday at the Abbotsford Centre.

Canucks defenceman Jett Woo notched a goal and two assists, while forwards Sheldon Dries (1-3-4) and Phil Di Giuseppe (0-4-4) had four points apiece. Abbotsford goaltender Michael DiPietro (2-2-1-0) stopped 28 of 29 shots, as the Windsor, Ontario native picked up his second win of the season.

Abbotsford finished the game 2/4 on the powerplay, while San Jose went 1/9.

“We take proud in our penalty kill and our guys did a really good job tonight,” DiPietro said postgame. “We had guys laying out the body – and any time you have guys playing like that you will gain momentum and feed off it.”

The Canucks struck early and on the man-advantage, with Sheldon Rempal burying a Di Giuseppe feed in front to make it 1-0. Abbotsford followed it up again just 1:04 later, as Jett Woo scored his first goal of the season – and got his first point in Abbotsford – to make it 2-0.

The momentum continued to swing in the Canucks favour, as Will Lockwood scored his first goal for Abbotsford just three minutes later to give the home team a 3-0 lead. Lockwood’s goal was just the fifth shot of the game for the Canucks, as San Jose pulled goalie Zachary Emond in favour of Alexei Melnichuk following the tally.

With Alex Kannok Leipert and Nic Petan getting called for back-to-back penalties late in the first, the Barracuda began to find a groove. Forward Scott Reedy would later beat DiPietro with 1:47 left on the ensuing powerplay to cut the Barracuda deficit to two goals.

The second period saw the Barracuda come out much stronger than they did in the first, as they outshot the Canucks 6-0 through the opening 10 minutes. Despite several powerplay opportunities for San Jose, DiPietro stood tall to maintain the home team’s two goal lead.

“I think everyone knows how good Michael DiPietro is, and there’s been games this season where we haven’t played as well as we could have in front of him, so it was nice to get that win,” Woo said of his goaltender.

Noah Juulsen registered the Canucks’ first official shot of the period at the 14:59 mark of the second. Once doing so, the momentum seemingly swung right back into the Canucks favour. After a tripping penalty was called on Nicolas Meloche, Vincent Arseneau scored in front for his first of the season to stretch the Abbotsford lead to 4-1.

Sheldon Dries continued his hot start to the season for the Canucks in the third period, after Di Giuseppe intercepted a Ryan Merkley pass in the offensive end before the puck found its way to Dries for his team-leading sixth goal of the season.

Rempal would add insurance for Abbotsford just over four minutes later, as he scored his second of the night and third goal of the season to make it 6-1. Abbotsford defenceman Adam Brubacher would then add his first goal of the season with 5:20 left in the game to stretch the Canucks lead to 7-1 and close out the game.

“We have struggled a little bit on the powerplay, especially last weekend, so we did some work on that over the week and I thought we were playing really well on the man advantage tonight,” Rempal said postgame. “It’s easy to love nights like these but we need to have a short memory to get the job done again on Sunday.”

Friday’s game was a celebration around the diverse culture and vibrant South Asian community. Diwali Night highlighted a variety of local South Asian cultural elements, artists, and activations throughout the game. The night included the crew from Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi, international Bhangra DJ and producer, DJ Heer, Kirti Arneja singing the national anthems, Diwali décor throughout Abbotsford Centre, performances by Bhangra dancers and Dhol drummers from the Abbotsford Arts Academy, and much more.

“The crowd had a huge impact tonight, and you could tell our fans played a difference on the scoresheet,” Di Giuseppe said following the game.

The Abbotsford Canucks close out Friday in sixth place in the Pacific Division, while the Barracuda sit in eighth place in the Pacific with 7 points. Abbotsford (4-4-2-0) will once again square off against San Jose (3-4-1-0) Sunday at 4pm at the Abbotsford Centre.