GAMEDAY HARVEST: Danila Vanilla and the Abbotsford Canucks Western Conference debut

Good day in my mind

One thousand seventy-one days ago, a schedule change at work left me with a lot of free time on my hands.

After work, I was sitting in my basement suite overlooking a cemetery (seriously), with several hours to kill and decided to dive into the world of prospect video-clipping for R/Canucks.

It’s kind of funny revisiting that first post where it all started.

Three seasons, 132 game recaps, two TSN radio hits, one Utica radio hit, a Botchford Project selection, over eight trillion hours of tedious microstats tracking later, and the Vancouver Canucks have finally moved their AHL affiliate to the west coast.

The farm team moving to the west coast was a long time coming. As rowdy and raucous as the Utica faithful are, it made zero sense to have the Canucks AHL affiliate situated on the opposite side of the continent.

Plus, I’ll never have to race home in time for those 4:00 PM PST puck drops!

Safe to take a step out

There’s also this bonus of having a local squad!

With the team’s migration to the lower mainland, the AHLNucksHarvest can now attend practice days and cover home games LIVE at the Abbotsford Centre!

This season, you can now expect quotes, 1-on-1 exclusives with player and coaching personnel, microstat goodness, and so much more!

I had no idea when I started this side-hobby that we would end up here.

The journey isn’t over, and I’m excited to see where the AHLNucksHarvest goes from here!

Get some air now

The Abbotsford Canucks first opponent of the 2021-22 season is the Edmonton Oilers affiliate, Bakersfield Condors.

The Condors lineup will feature recent Oilers draft picks Philip Broberg and Raphael Lavoie, the latter of who debuted with the Condors during last year’s abbreviated AHL season.

Let your edge out

Never forget that the Bakersfield Condors accidentally once let a live Condor get loose during pre-game ceremonies.

It was hilarious.

Starting Lineup

Healthy Scratches: Ethan Keppen, Tristan Neilsen, Adam Brubacher, Cameron Schilling

IR: Guillaume Brisebois (spotted wearing a red non-contact jersey at practice)

Abby Canucks icing a very young and inexperienced forward group, but that top-six carries some considerable speed!

Don’t feel like reading? Click here for spoilers!!

GAME 1:

1st period:

PK1: Sautner, Bailey, Stevens, Woo

PK2: Di Giuseppe, Dries, Juulsen, Bowey

PK3: Stevens, Lockwood, Kannok Leipert, Stephens

2nd period:

  • Plenty of long passes early in the second period, with the Canucks getting the better of these exchanges
  • GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 1-1 TIE: Jarid Lukosevicius (#14) ties the game at one off a quick zone-entry from Sheldon Rempal (#56). John Stevens (#16) should get an assist here, but he won’t, though the timing on his screen of Stuart Skinner couldn’t be more perfect. Great early response from the Abbotsford Canucks after a brutal first twenty.
  • Canucks doing much better at entering the zone for shot attempts than they were in the first
  • Condors Brad Malone takes a cross-checking penalty, and the Abbotsford Canucks are off to their first powerplay.

PP1: Bailey, Dries, Rempal, Woo, Di Giuseppe

PP2: Lockwood, Arseneau, Focht, Klimovich, Bowey

  • Arseneau PP2 hype train!
  • Bakersfield Condor skater laying on the puck, but the refs refuse to blow the whistle.
  • Possibly the most aggressive second powerplay unit in the AHL, haha
  • Naturally, a scrum evolves out of the above action, and somehow Lockwood takes a cross-checking penalty out of everything
    • Condors to a brief powerplay after the Malone penalty expires

PK1: Sautner, Woo, Bailey, Dries

  • GOAL – BAKERSFIELD – 2-1 Condors: Who else but former Vancouver Canuck, Adam Cracknell, put the Condors back up by one goal. A long shift for the Comets’ first PK group leads to serious open ice for a Cracknell one-timer over the stretched-out right pad of DiPietro. DiPietro caught too far over on his left side to make the post-to-post stretch save.
  • GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 2-2 Tie: The first of many, as Danila Klimovich (#46) pounces on a fanned-on shot from Jarid Lukosevicius (#14) to tie the game at two! John Stevens (#16) again making things happen as he pressures the Condors for a turnover that lands on Lukosevicius’ stick.

PK1: Stevens, Bailey, Bowey, Juulsen

  • Brad Malone draws a cross-checking penalty from Madison Bowey, and the Canucks are down two crucial penalty-killers and face a 5v3 powerplay for 1:17

PK1: Stevens, Woo, Lockwood

3rd period:

PK1: Stephens, Di Giuseppe, Dries, Kannok Leipert

PK2: Stevens, Bailey, Sautner, Bowey

PP1Woo, Di Giuseppe, Dries, Bailey, Rempal

PP2: Arseneau, Bowey, Focht, Lockwood, Klimovich

RESULT:

Bakersfield Condors def. Abbotsford Canucks 5-3

SCORESHEET:

Game 1 @ Bakersfield Scoresheet

GAME THOUGHTS:

  • While it wasn’t the debut the Abbotsford Canucks were hoping for; the game had some lone bright spots that provided some entertainment
    • The Canucks finished the game having been outshot 32 to 22
  • It felt, at times, that the Abbotsford group was working through chemistry issues for the entire first period, settled into a groove during the second, and ended up on the receiving end of some rough matchups in the third that won the game for Bakersfield.
    • Bakersfield’s first line of Seth Griffith, Adam Cracknell, and Ostap Safin scored twice in 39-seconds while crushing Klimovich, Stevens, and Lukosevicius/Arseneau in puck possession.
  • Truthfully, it didn’t ever feel like Abbotsford was that threatening with their offensive zone pressure. Perhaps, more time playing together will lead to better chemistry and playmaking, but it wasn’t ever there tonight.

PLAYER THOUGHTS:

  • Despite the scoreline, Mikey DiPietro was incredibly sharp tonight. On several occasions, he made lightning-fast glove saves on high-danger shots within his crease. We can maybe fault him on that powerplay goal where he was cheating too far to one side, but otherwise, this game wasn’t his fault.
  • Jett Woo played a tonne for Abbotsford tonight! I was pleasantly surprised to see him getting PP1 duty as the point man. He finished the night with one shot on goal and zero points, but I like the speed he brings to the blue line.
  • Phil Di Giuseppe didn’t stand out until the third period when he started throwing spinnerooni’s into his gameplay. Quiet night from someone who had Canucks Twitter in an uproar over his demotion to the AHL.
  • Jarid Lukosevicius had a pretty okay night! I wasn’t expecting much of him after posting thoroughly underwhelming point totals in the watered-down AHL last season. After working on his shot and visualization, he was one of the last guys to leave the ice at last Saturday’s practice. Lukosevicius’ work ethic was on display tonight as he bagged a goal and an assist through simple heads-up plays.
    • Both of Lukosevicius’ points tonight were earned on goals that tied the game.
  • Sheldon Dries is a go-to faceoff guy for Trent Cull. He would routinely start a PK shift, or d-zone faceoff for the draw, then quickly change as soon as possible. I will have to ask him about that when I get the chance!
  • John Stevens put in some good work tonight in the offensive zone to get Abbotsford on the board. I’ve never viewed Stevens as a strong skater, but I thought his skating looked significantly better tonight!
  • Carson Focht looked okay. He has a good shot, but I can’t help but feel he spends most of his game chasing play instead of controlling it.
  • Will Lockwood, see above. He threw his body around quite a bit and even got in a fight, but I didn’t ever notice him with the puck.
  • Chase Wouters, quiet. Not really noticeable outside of some finished checks here and there.
  • Karel Plasek, good wheels, but positioning needs work. He created some rough situations for Abbotsford after colliding with his teammates in open territory.
  • Devante Stephens looked solid and capable.
  • Alex Kannok Leipert looked good early but appeared to fade. His gas tank might be an issue during those prolonged heavy shifts inside the d-zone. I did, however, like seeing him on the Canucks penalty kill! Didn’t look out of place there either!
  • Danila Klimovich is very hit or miss. The kid has above-average puck handling and shooting skills. It’s everywhere else that needs work. He needs to commit much more in 1-on-1 battles, and he can’t be giving up on plays in the d-zone like this one above. Unfortunately, the Canucks powerplay wasn’t clicking at all, so we didn’t get to see much of the Klimovich one-timer. At 18-years-old, I’m not worried about his lack of defensive play or engagement level. He’ll pick it up along the way.
  • After a fairly underwhelming preseason training camp, Sheldon Rempal looked rather impressive tonight in Bakersfield. He finished his evening with two assists and considerable TOI on the Canucks powerplay and penalty-killing units. I liked his speed and tenacity and am looking forward to seeing how his deployment translates over a 68-game season.
  • Justin Bailey is fast. Very very fast. He looked to be shaking off the rust still but had some great b-line rushes onto loose pucks. He was one of the few players to get significantly better as the game progressed. His line with Rempal and Dries didn’t show much promise, chemistry-wise, so I’m wondering if Cull switches it up for tomorrow’s game against the Ontario Reign.
  • Given that it took me close to five hours to finish this first recap, safe to say, I’m really not looking forward to the microstats tracking part of the equation. Fingers crossed the Ontario Reign uses video cameras from this century.
  • I don’t want to tell you how many times I typed COMETS instead of Canucks.
  • It’s going to be a long season…

Best Offseason Improvement

It took two training camps, but the Canucks organization finally spelled Artūrs Šilovs nameplate correctly.

Time to start the “give Šilovs his caron” campaign.

Cody’s Three Stars

  1. Sheldon Rempal
  2. Jarid Lukosevicius
  3. Mikey DiPietro

HM: Danila Klimovich for being a point-per-game player as an 18-year-old!

Next Up on the Docket

The Abbotsford Canucks are back in action tomorrow when they face off against the Los Angeles Kings affiliate, the Ontario Reign.

Plugs

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for your daily dose of memes, sarcasm, stats, and gameday clips from the Vancouver and Abbotsford Canucks!

You can also catch me on Podcast format with Lachlan Irvine over at the Creasecast! Please give us a follow on your go-to podcast platform and rate, like and subscribe to help us out!

And if you’re more of a visual person! You can check out the Creasecast Youtube channel, where we upload all of our podcasts in video form!

Cheers for tuning in to the first AHL Nucks Harvest recap of the 2021-22 season!

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