Breathe it in AHL Nucks Harvest fans. It doesn’t get any better than the above.
The Abbotsford Canucks are playing the late game today. They will look to leave Canucks fans with some optimism after the Vancouver Canucks crushing and embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres.
Tonight, the Canucks rematch the Ontario Reign with effectively the same lineup, minus a couple of substitutions on their fourth line.
Their starting goalie, Matthew Villalta, was drafted 72nd overall in the 2017 entry draft, just eight picks after Canucks starter Mikey DiPietro.
Here's how we line up!
➡️ DiPietro is back between the pipes for the #AbbotsfordCanucks.
➡️ Nielsen becomes the 5th player to make his AHL debut with the Canucks.
➡️ Schilling will tie John Bednarski & Joe Piskula for 63rd among all-time AHL defencemen in games played (576). pic.twitter.com/VVxhkYsrGb
— Abbotsford Canucks (@abbycanucks) October 20, 2021
Healthy Scratches: Alex Kannok Leipert, Adam Brubacher, Ethan Keppen, Arturs Silovs
In transit: Nic Petan
IR: Guillaume Brisebois, Will Lockwood
With Will Lockwood out due to injury, former Vancouver Giant Tristan Neilsen subs onto the fourth line in his place. Cull has moved Jarid Lukosevicius up to the Canucks’ second line after strong performances in back-to-back games.
The lineup also sees Madison Bowey moved back to the right side, while depth pick-up Cameron Schilling makes his Abbotsford debut. That big boy pair will be something to watch. Schilling is a 33-year-old left-shot defenceman standing at 6’3″ 190 lbs, while Bowey is 6’2″ 205 lbs.
The Jr.’ Nucks are 1-1-0-0 on the season and will try to build off their first franchise victory with their second in a row before a four-game homestand!
Don’t feel like reading? Click here for spoilers!!
- Ontario cycling inside the Canucks d-zone through the opening minute of play
- Klimovich, Stevens, Plasek line strikes with the first shot on goal. Earning the Canucks an offensive zone faceoff off a Villalta glove save on a sharp-angle shot from Plasek
- End-to-end action throughout the first five minutes of play
- The Reign generate a couple of looks in the Canucks zone, but some well-placed sticks deflect dangerous chances away from Mikey’s net
- Jett Woo (#22) attempts to set up Karel Plasek (#62) with a redirect from the slot, but his pass gets deflected out of play.
- Madison Bowey (#4) finds Vinny Arseneau (#18) with a crisp rinkwide pass down the left-wing. Arseneau sends his shot into the body of Villalta for a stoppage in play.
- Mikey DiPietro makes a shoulder save on a high wrister from Brett Sutter off a pass from Tyler Madden.
- GOAL – ONTARIO – 1-0 Reign: Off of a d-zone faceoff, Ashton Sautner’s (#6) board-and-out lands right onto the tape of Austin Strand. Strand wires a shot on DiPietro, and Johan Sodergran bats in the rebound while Jett Woo (#22) is caught with his stick off the ice.
- GOAL – ONTARIO – 2-0 Reign: It’s just that kind of night for the Canucks organization. Two goals in 35 seconds on five shots. Carson Focht (#19) and Bowey (#4) chase Kale Clague into the half-wall before handing off to Jacob Moverare on the blue line. Moverare fires a shot through center that gets tipped by an unchallenged Samuel Fagemo.
- Danila Klimovich (#46) exemplifies “young guy shit.” He enters the zone, tucks and goes between his legs to evade the defender, then immediately throws a blind pass to center that gets picked off by Ontario.
- A Canucks giveaway from the d-zone half-wall forces MDP to quickly save a shot by Ontario’s Sean Durzi.
- Sautner (#6) with the Canucks first shot attempt in quite some time after the Canucks finally set up in the offensive zone
- Madison Bowey was throwing some cheap shots to the back of Fagemo’s head while battling at the Reign blue line.
- Chaotic moments for Abbotsford in the offensive zone after a shot from Ashton Sautner (#6). The sequence begins with Chase Wouters (#21) forcing a turnover before spinning to find space for a pass to Sautner. Tristan Neilsen (#84) joins Arseneau (#18) in the net-front scrum, trying to jab the loose puck past Villalta.
- Tristan Neilsen (#84) displayed patience before passing to Devante Stephens (#24) for a shot attempt. Stepehens’ shot redirects to the wall, where the Reign pick up the loose puck and send Austin Wagner deep for a rush chance on DiPietro.
- Ontario’s T.J. Tynan is issued a penalty for hooking
- Martin Frk fires a shot that goes off the body of a falling Noah Juulsen (#47) moments after the whistle is blown. Frk apologizes, saying he did not realize the Canucks were on a delayed penalty
PP1: Dries, Rempal, Bailey, Di Giuseppe, Schilling
- Very veteran-heavy first-unit, with Jett Woo taken off PP1 in exchange for Schilling
- Abbotsford PP1 generates nothing and gives up a shorthanded chance
PP2: Lukosevicius, Bowey, Focht, Klimovich, Arseneau
- Ontario’s Adam Johnson capitalizes on a bad breakout pass from Bowey (#4) to Focht (#19) and forces DiPietro to make a huge shorthanded save.
- Powerplay expires—zero shots for and one against
- Phil Di Giuseppe draws a hooking penalty from Austin Strand. Unfortunately, Abbotsford heads back to the powerplay.
PP1: Dries, Rempal, Bailey, Di Giuseppe, Schilling
- Cameron Schilling (#5) sets up Bailey behind the goal with a pass. Bailey (#95) sets up Di Giuseppe (#34) for a one-timer, and Villalta somehow makes the save under his right arm.
- Samuel Fagemo with a dangerous shorthanded chance for Ontario
PP2: Bowey, Klimovich, Arseneau, Focht, Lukosevicius
- Jarid Lukosevicius (#14) with a quick hook to Danila Klimovich (#46), who wrists one off the right pad of Villalta.
- With 69 seconds left in the first (nice), Chase Wouters (#21) goes to the penalty box for tripping on T.J. Tynan.
PK1: Juulsen, Stephens, Dries, Di Giuseppe
- Canucks win the draw and work the puck up ice as Di Giuseppe records a shorthanded shot on goal.
- DiPietro with a huge point-blank stop on Jaret Anderson-Dolan
PK2: Sautner, Woo, Stevens, Bailey
- Canucks kill off the remainder of the first period but will start the second on a fifty-one-second penalty kill
PK1: Stevens, Di Giuseppe, Stephens, Juulsen
- Ontario fumbles possession inside the Canucks d-zone, killing off the majority of the fifty-one-second penalty
- Ontario attacks in waves after Wouters (#21) leaves the box and heads to the bench for a change.
- Sheldon Rempal goes end to end for Abbotsford with a shot attempt, giving the Canucks an offensive zone faceoff.
- Lukosevicius with a sharp-angle shot on Villalta
- Here’s a sequence highlighting the speed difference between Ontario and Abbotsford:
- Austin Wagner beats out the icing on Madison Bowey
- After being hauled down, Wagner still manages a pass to Jaret Anderson Dolan for a shot on DiPietro, followed by a second chance from Aidan Dudas.
- A good hard shift from Phil Di Giuseppe (#34) behind the net of Villalta that results in a shot on goal by Madison Bowey (#4)
- Austin Wagner almost makes it three-nothing after Aidan Dudas steals the puck from the Ontario blue line and outraces Klimovich (#46) for the d-zone entry and pass. Solid deflection from Madison Bowey at the last minute to deny Wagner the scoring chance.
- Austin Strand sends the puck over the glass, and the Canucks head to their third powerplay of the game.
PP1: Dries, Bailey, Rempal, Di Giuseppe, Schilling
- Samuel Fagemo gets a high stick on Sheldon Dries, giving the Canucks a 1:14 5-on-3 powerplay opportunity.
- Trent Cull takes Schilling off the powerplay and puts on Klimovich for a five-forward powerplay unit.
- Danila Klimovich (#46), all alone at the top of the right circle, has his shot blocked by Jaret Anderson-Dolan
- Villalta makes a great post-to-post save on Rempal as the Austin Strand penalty ends.
PP2: Bowey, Focht, Arseneau, Lukosevicius, Schilling
- PP2 can’t set up in the offensive zone, and Fagemo leaves the box
- Canucks powerplay concludes with one official shot on goal
- Devante Stephens heads to the box for roughing. The Canucks head to their second penalty kill of the night
PK1: Dries, Bailey, Sautner, Woo
- Early one-timer from Sean Durzi off quick puck movement from the Reign
PK2: Juulsen, Stevens, Bowey, Di Giuseppe
- Canucks get several timely clears to kill off the majority of Stephens roughing penalty.
- Another quick chance off the rush for Ontario’s Austin Wagner
- Focht (#19) picks off an errant pass outside the Reign’s blue line and sets up Di Giuseppe (#34) for the entry.
- Klimovich (#46) keeps the play alive in the offensive zone with quick hands in tight along the right wall. Klimovich makes a slick little bank pass off the wall to Di Giuseppe (#34), who attempts a sharp angle shot.
- Canucks controlling play around the neutral zone a bit better during the latter half of the second period
- An errant pass from Kilomivch results in two shots on goal from Ontario
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 2-1 Reign: The Abbotsford Canucks get back within one off a gorgeous wrist shot from Carson Focht (#19). Justin Bailey (#95) leads the sequence with a zone entry down the right-wing before hooking a pass back to Focht in the high slot. Vinny Arseneau (#18) uses his big body to provide a great screen on the play. Cameron Schilling earns a secondary assist on the play with his breakout pass to Bailey.
- Canucks pressuring late in the period with shots from Di Giuseppe, Bowey, and Dries
- Some late-period post-whistle shenanigans
- The final minutes of the second period finally saw some pushback from the Canucks after a largely uninspired performance through the first 38 minutes of the game.
- Bailey (#95) with a slick feed to Lukosevicius (#14), behind the Reign defence, for a shot on Villalta.
- Klimovich (#46) with an incredibly dicey pass in the d-zone through center
- Cameron Schilling draws a very questionable tripping penalty against Brayden Burke.
PP1: Rempal, Dries, Bailey, Schilling, Di Giuseppe
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 2-2 Tie: The Abbotsford Canucks first powerplay unit finally gets it done! Sheldon Dries (#15) scores his first of the year off a no-look cross-ice pass from Cameron Schilling (#5).
- More Klimovich (#46) “young guy shit.” Dekes through the neutral zone to evade one check, turns the puck over, recovers with a takeaway of his own at the Canucks blue line, pass just out of a teammate’s reach at the Reign’s blue line.
- Sheldon Rempal narrowly avoids sending the puck over the glass from inside the Canucks d-zone.
- Kale Clague pounces on a weird bounce in the Canucks d-zone where DiPietro makes the save.
- A long shift inside the d-zone for Abbotsford results in Vinny Arseneau (#18) going knee-on-knee with T.J. Tynan.
- Canucks to their third penalty kill
PK1: Woo, Sautner, Dries, Bailey
- DiPietro makes a save then knocks the net off its moorings
PK2: Stevens, Di Giuseppe hop on (Sautner and Woo stay out for the extended shift)
- Canucks clear off of the next d-zone faceoff
- Chase Wouters (#21) forces a turnover at the Reign’s blue line that kills off the final seconds of Arseneau’s penalty. Great play from the rookie!
- Arseneau (#18) gloves down a high-flip attempt from Ontario and fires a shot on Villalta. Villalta fumbles the puck, and John Stevens (#16) almost cashes in for the go-ahead goal!
- Noah Juulsen (#47) with a fantastic stretch pass to Klimovich (#46) for a breakaway scoring chance.
- Juulsen (#47), with a huge block on Moverare off the rush
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 3-2 Canucks: The Canucks earn their first lead in the game off of a spectacular end-to-end rush from Justin Bailey (#95).
- Ontario showing some fire for the first time all period
- Ontario, with an offensive zone faceoff, pull Villalta for the extra attacker
- GOAL – ONTARIO – 3-3 Tie: Of course, the man to tie the game at three with less than two minutes to go in regulation is none other than Tyler Madden. Check out Madden’s hands around the left circle as he keeps the play alive in the offensive zone for Ontario.
- A late rally from Ontario forces the second consecutive meeting between these teams into overtime
- Stevens, Rempal, Bowey start overtime for Abbotsford
- Frk, Tynan, Clague start for Ontario
- Bowey trips up Tynan 15 seconds into overtime, and we are getting an exact repeat of Saturday’s game.
PK1: Dries, Sautner, Woo
- DiPietro gets his body behind a Jaret Anderson-Dolan one-timer and smothers the puck to allow the Canucks to change personnel.
- DiPietro with a massive sliding save on Martin Frk
- GOAL – ONTARIO – 4-3 Reign: After rattling a shot off the outside of the goalpost, Jaret Anderson-Dolan finds Martin Frk with a pass, and Frk’s shot deflects off of Sheldon Dries (#15) and past DiPietro for the game-winner.
Ontario Reign def. Abbotsford Canucks 4-3 in Overtime
- For the second consecutive game that went to overtime, Madison Bowey took a stupid penalty that hurt the team. I want to think this puts an end to “Bowey first out in overtime.” But, with this team’s lack of defensive depth, I doubt it will.
- Regardless, after looking desynced and disinterested through the first 38 minutes of the game, I did like the team’s fire in the third to make this a competitive game.
- Honestly, Justin Bailey had a fantastic game. Bailey’s speed is a clear separator at the AHL level, and the Canucks leaned on him heavily to have a fighting chance against the high-flying Ontario Reign.
- Tyler Madden is good.
- Karel Plasek was notably absent midway through the first period. I’ll have to ask around and find out if it was injury-related or performance-related.
- I know most readers are coming to this game recap after that dreadful Vancouver loss to Buffalo. So I won’t pile on. But, the powerplay of the Abbotsford Canucks needs a serious overhaul. It is way too static and lifeless. And yes, I realize it’s only three games in, but the Reign have played just as few games, and it is a night and day difference in chance generation.
- One shot on goal with over a minute of 5v3 powerplay time is pathetic. This team has decent shooters in its lineup, but the puck movement is severely lacking. Watch any clip of the Reign’s shot attempts on Mikey compared to any Canucks powerplay chance. There is so little feet movement and puck movement during the Canucks powerplay cycle. Outside of Klimovich on the right circle, the Canucks have yet to find a set-play or look that is remotely threatening.
- Highkey, I have liked Vinny Arseneau playing up in the lineup. He’s a gamer with pretty good hands and engagement through open ice. However, his game suffers over prolonged shifts.
- Cameron Schilling might not be the fastest guy, but he moves pretty darn well for his size. Three points and a drawn penalty in his season debut is a pretty good way to make an impression with the coaching staff.
- Klimovich is still very raw and has a lot of room to grow.
- I like Jett Woo, and I know he loves to join the rush, but he hasn’t picked his spots very well through the first three games. I’m neither impressed with his d-zone coverage either. While he plays with an edge, he’s struggled to find a way to win those net-front battles effectively. That first goal from Sodergran should have never happened if Woo was going for a stick-lift or targeting the puck instead of mindlessly cross-checking Sodergran in the side. Woo’s debut came during the heavily watered-down AHL season last year. Naturally, it’ll take him some time to adapt to this year’s normalized AHL. So I’m not too worried about the early growing pains. I just hope he simplifies his game a bit and stops trying to do everything. I wonder if Woo being taken off PP1 is Cull’s solution to lightening his workload?
- On that note, can I get a hell yeah for Trent Cull bringing back the five-forward powerplay?
- Mikey DiPietro is rocking a 0.869 save percentage after two starts. Not worrying yet, but pinning it to the fridge in case things don’t improve.
Cody’s Three Stars
- Justin Bailey
- Cameron Schilling
- Noah Juulsen
HM: Sheldon Dries (were it not for the odd pinch in OT that completely left Frk open for the game-winning goal)
Next Up on the Docket
The Abbotsford Canucks are heading home for a four-game home stint starting Friday against the Henderson Silver Knights (easy affiliation guess).
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