GAMEDAY HARVEST: Abbotsford’s three unanswered goals not enough to dispel the Reign

2021-22 Abbotsford Canucks PEAK performers

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.

THE OPPOSITION

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.

STARTING ROSTER

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!!

GAME 3:

1st period:

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

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

PP2: Bowey, Klimovich, Arseneau, Focht, Lukosevicius

PK1: Juulsen, Stephens, Dries, Di Giuseppe

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

2nd period:

PK1: Stevens, Di Giuseppe, Stephens, Juulsen

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

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 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.

3rd period:

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

  • GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 2-2 TieThe 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).

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)

  • 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 TieOf 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

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.

RESULT:

Ontario Reign def. Abbotsford Canucks 4-3 in Overtime

SCORESHEET:

Game 3 @ Ontario: Scoresheet

GAME THOUGHTS:

  • 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.
Abbotsford Canucks 5v3 powerplay results
  • 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

  1. Justin Bailey
  2. Cameron Schilling
  3. 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).

Plugs

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