GAMEDAY RECAP: Canucks win two of two against the Reign thanks to Sheldon Dries’ first career hat-trick

The elbow heard ’round Canucks Twitter

Now, I have a feeling.

And I could be wrong here.

But I have a feeling that tonight’s rematch versus the Reign is going to be a complete gong-show.

Late in the third period, Ontario’s Brett Sutter, the son of Calgary Flames bench-boss Daryl Sutter, delivered a dangerous elbow to the temple of Canucks netminder Mikey DiPietro.

The Canucks received a late powerplay opportunity off a hooking penalty by T.J. Tynan. After losing the zone, Sutter pursued the puck possessor, Jack Rathbone, deep inside the Canucks d-zone while shorthanded.

It’s tough to see in AHL-quality footage, but this is how I see events unfold:

Rathbone, being the elite skater he is, angles his body in a way that indicates he’ll be cruising around DiPietro’s net for the slingshot exit.

Sutter briefly throws down his right foot to slow down and read/react to Rathbone’s next move.

At the same time, Rathbone plants his left skate and pivots away from DiPietro’s net towards Sheldon Rempal.

Sutter doesn’t react to Rathbone’s hard-pivot and instead takes off the breaks while angling his body/feet towards DiPietro.

Sutter tries to throw his right leg down to try angle away from DiPietro, but it’s such a late reaction that his leg just skips off the ice.

Sutter lifts his elbow, I assume, to brace himself for a body-to-body impact with DiPietro but instead catches the crouched DiPietro clean in the noggin.

I can’t say with certainty that Sutter intentionally attempted to deliver a dirty headshot to an unsuspecting DiPietro.

To me, it looks like the 34-year-old AHL grinder’s poor skating, reaction time, and edgework combined for an incredibly dangerous hit on Mikey DiPietro.

If you want to believe Sutter intentionally tried to take out DiPietro in the dying minutes of a one-goal game. I won’t stop you.

But I really feel like this was just a really bad brainfart that resulted in an incredibly dangerous play.

Regardless, Sutter will likely have to answer for his dangerous elbow. Intentional or not, the code demands retribution.

Pictured: Vancouver Canucks fanbase to Brett Sutter (and family) post-game

That short-king goaltender had powerful friends.

THE OPPOSITION

  • Langley native Bobby Russell makes his AHL debut for the Ontario Reign tonight, subbing for Cameron Gaunce.

STARTING ROSTER

  • Klimovich experiences his first healthy scratch under Abbotsford head coach Trent Cull.
    • I can’t say I blame Cull for the decision either. Klim has looked frustrated for several games now and has been a giveaway machine inside the offensive zone.
  • Ashton Sautner struggled to put weight on his leg after blocking a shot late in the third period. Devante Stephens plays his first game for the Abbotsford Canucks in his proper role as a defenseman in Sautner’s place.

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

GAME 15:

1st period:

PK1: Stevens, Wouters, Bowey, Woo

PK1: Stevens, Wouters, Stephens, Juulsen

PK1: Di Giuseppe, Stephens, Juulsen

PK2: Bailey, Stevens, Schilling

PP1: Lockwood, Arseneau, Schilling, Dries, Di Giuseppe

PP2: Bailey, Stevens, Petan, Rempal, Rathbone

  • After being down two-nothing on the scoreboard and outshot eleven to five, midway through the period, the Abbotsford Canucks rally back to tie things at two and close the shots on goal gap, fifteen to thirteen.

2nd period:

PP1: Petan, Di Giuseppe, Dries, Arseneau, Schilling

PP2: Rathbone, Rempal, Lockwood, Bailey, Stevens

PK1: Stevens, Wouters, Juulsen, Stephens

PP1: Rathbone, Stevens, Rempal, Bailey, Lockwood

  • Tyler Madden flips the puck over the glass, handing the Canucks an extended 5-on-3 powerplay opportunity.

PP1: Petan, Di Giuseppe, Rempal, Rathbone, Dries

  • GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 3-3 Tie: The Canucks capitalize on the two-man advantage as a howitzer one-timer from Jack Rathbone (#3) deflects off the skate of Sheldon Dries and past Sparks for the equalizer!
  • Canucks finish the period with one minute and ten seconds of a 5-on-4 powerplay.
  • Alex Turcotte generates a shorthanded chance with twenty seconds left in the period
  • A dominant period for Abbotsford as they pump the Reign eighteen to six

3rd period:

  • Canucks start the final frame with 2:30 of powerplay time.
  • Vinny Arseneau comes out for a spin on the Canucks powerplay; nice to see that he’s okay after that nasty hit from Wagner.
  • GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 4-3 Canucks: Abbotsford regains the lead off a tremendous effort by the rookie, Tristen Nielsen, who scores his first goal as a pro! Petan (#7) starts the sequence by breaking up a wraparound chance from Martin Frk before sending Nielsen (#84) in behind the defence with a stretch pass through the neutral zone. Nielsen charges around Bobby Russell and dekes Sparks for a backhander that trickles through molasses into the net.

PK1: Wouters, Stevens, Schilling, Juulsen

PK2: Bailey, Lockwood, Bowey, Woo

PK1: Stevens, Wouters, Schilling, Juulsen

  • Wouters wins another PK faceoff for Abbotsford.
  • A poor clearance attempt from Spencer Martin almost results in an empty net chance. Fortunately, the Ontario Reign do not capitalize on the opportunity.

PK2: Lockwood, Bailey, Rathbone, Bowey

  • Ontario pressuring inside the Canucks d-zone late in the period
  • Cam Schilling heads to the box for cross-checking with less than two minutes left in the period. Uh oh!

PK1: Wouters, Stevens, Bowey, Juulsen

  • For the first time tonight, Wouters loses a PK faceoff!
  • Ontario pulls sparks for the extra attacker.
  • Stevens clears towards the empty net, but the puck doesn’t have enough speed to go all the way down the ice!

PK2: Bailey, Lockwood

PK3: Di Giuseppe, Dries, Bowey, Juulsen

RESULT:

Abbotsford Canucks def. Ontario Reign 5-4

SCORESHEET:

Game 15 Scoresheet versus Ontario

TAKEAWAYS:

  • The Canucks organization must be breathing a sigh of relief right now as both of their teams are sitting on two-game win streaks!
  • I’m fairly surprised that no honouring of “the code” occurred in tonight’s game. Especially after the Lockwood goaltender interference, the Bowey misconduct, and the Wagner check to the head,

  • Sheldon Dries scored the first hat-trick in Abbotsford Canucks franchise history and his first career hat-trick! Three goals on six shots; pretty good, I guess.
Sheldon Dries Player Card (On-Ice date, Games 1 thru 13)
  • At evens, with Dries on the ice at 5v5, the Abbotsford Canucks have a plus+25 shot attempt differential and a goal differential of plus+3.
  • Chase Wouters went 6/7 in the faceoff dot as the starting faceoff man for Abbotsford’s penalty kill. For a team run by a former NHL penalty-killing specialist, that’s incredibly high praise for the rookie centerman!
  • Earlier this season, Cull cited how he was still learning to trust Wouters. Less than one month later, and it’s clear that Wouters has become a trusted player, integral to the success of Cull’s penalty kill. Not bad for a twenty-one-year-old rookie straight out of the WHL.
  • Tonight was probably Rathbone’s best game of the season; two assists and four shots on goal. I loved how cool, calm, collected, and confident Rathbone looked while defending against Ontario’s speed. He didn’t ever appear out of sorts or lost. The late game-tying goal that he was on-ice for was a bit of a clusterf**k, but Rathbone was strong practically every other shift. Dominant even.
  • Nic Petan played his best game as a Canuck tonight; two assists on five shots on goal and was consistently a scoring threat as the shooter and as the main distributor for his linemates. Dominant game from Petan.
  • Quiet night from Jett Woo. Earlier this season, Trent Cull spoke about trying to find consistency in Woo’s game, stating that Woo’s strong performance (at the time) set a high bar of expectations for future Woo performances. Tuesday night’s performance was a high bar game. Tonight was just performance. Not a difference-maker. Not dominant. A few bad pinches. Just a game from Woo tonight.
  • Kudos to Tristen Nielsen for scoring his first goal as a professional. I thought Nielsen looked strong tonight in both ends of the ice (again, ignoring that clusterf**k of a game-tying goal).
  • Wondering where this Sheldon Rempal was during Canucks preseason? Rempal with Abbotsford has been incredible. Speed, tenacity, forechecking, disruption, passing, goalscoring; the guy does it all except kill penalties. Rempal’s eleven assists lead the team.
  • Will Lockwood strong again.
  • Justin Bailey played infinitely better tonight than he had in Tuesday night’s showing!
  • The Abbotsford Canucks have now taken eight points out of a possible twelve against the now second-best team in the Western Conference.
[Pictured] Ryan Johnson seeing his team creep up the standings after taking four points out of four against Ontario

Cody’s Three Stars

  1. Sheldon Dries
  2. Sheldon Rempal
  3. Nic Petan

HM: Tristen Nielsen, Chase Wouters

Next Up on the Docket

The Abbotsford Canucks return this Saturday/Sunday when they take on the visiting San Jose Barracuda.

A Barracuda team that might feature Evander Kane…

Plugs

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