GAMEDAY RECAP LIVE: A fight of the year candidate and three powerplay goals punctuate a fun Abbotsford loss to the worst team in the Division

Rumours were plentiful that the Canucks were rapidly approaching the decision to make a coaching change, a management change, a trade, anything to try and spark some life in their struggling organization.

Two-game win streaks from both their AHL and NHL franchises later, and suddenly the patient approach is back on the menu for ownership!

The doomsday clock has temporarily been rolled back to three minutes to midnight!

The existing organizational problems are still lingering in the background. But the team’s performances across two leagues have been good enough to warrant a pause on the nuclear annihilation of the Canucks organizational chart.

Plus! It’s TEDDY BEAR TOSS NIGHT!

For this ‘Gameday Harvest LIVE!’ I did not bring a stuffed animal to throw.

  1. I didn’t think it would be professional to do so.
  2. I also didn’t want to rip my shirt attempting to throw a stuffed animal over the netting.

The Abbotsford Canucks mandated that fans throw their stuffed animals during the intermission, not after the game’s first goal, due to COVID protocol.

Thanks a lot, COVID.

THE OPPOSITION

Canucks v Barracuda Head-to-head 2021-22

Tonight, the Barracuda will be without Noah Gregor, a key driver of San Jose’s offence, who recorded one goal and thirteen shot attempts against the Canucks the last time these two teams went head-to-head!

Though they came away with three out of four possible points against the Barracuda, the underlying numbers weren’t great the last time they met.

  • In their 7-1 victory, the Canucks managed to be out-attempted at 5v5 ninety-five to sixty-eight.
  • In their 3-2 shootout loss, the Canucks got out to an early one-goal lead only to get pumped in the third period, twenty-nine to seven shot attempts. The Canucks controlled overtime quite well, but the third period was quite ugly.

Fortunately, in addition to Evander Kane, the Barracuda will be without one of their leading point producers, Noah Gregor.

During the Canucks and Barracuda’s last match, Gregor recorded one goal and thirteen individual shot attempts over sixty minutes.

The Barracuda will be hard-pressed to replace that kind of offensive contribution.

The Barracuda are riding a four-game losing streak. Most recently, a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the San Diego Gulls.

PRE-GAME TRANSACTIONS

  • After missing the last two games as a ‘healthy scratch,’ Carson Focht departs for Kalamazoo on a conditioning stint.
    • Focht has struggled mightily in adjusting to “normalized” AHL competition. After twelve games played, Focht carries the team-worst on-ice shot attempt differential at 5v5, the worst relative CORSI (Team 5v5 CF with Focht vs. without), the worst relative on-ice save percentage (Team SV% with Focht vs. without), and the worst on-ice goal differential at 5v5 at negative-nine.
    • Positives: Five points in twelve games played, three of which came on the powerplay.

Travis Hamonic December 3rd, 2021

As reported by DailyFaceoff and CanucksArmy.com’s managing editor, David Quadrelli, Hamonic was recalled to the Canucks for practice then immediately returned to the AHL to get some games under his feet.

Hamonic’s last game was the Canucks 1-0 shutout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks thirteen days ago.

The NHL Canucks are also riding the first two-game win streak since October 21st; Quadrelli opined that Travis Green might be hesitant to mess with a “winning” lineup.

While joining Faber and Quads on Sportsnet650 for the Canucks warm-up, I joked that Klimovich’s healthy scratch on Wednesday made sense for a reset but sucked for guys’ like Faber and myself who love to go to Abbotsford to watch him play and develop.

Whoops!

The Cody Severtson jinx lives on!

STARTING ROSTER

  • Klimovich sits for the second straight game, my bad.
  • Ashton Sautner sits out while Travis Hamonic slides to his off-side to play with Noah Juulsen.

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

GAME 16:

1st period:

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

  • GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 1-1 Tie: Will Lockwood gets the Canucks on the board with a powerplay tally! A shot from Cam Schilling (#5) finds its way onto Melnichuk, and Lockwood (#10) pounces on the loose rebound for the equalizer!

PK1: Bowey, Juulsen, Wouters, Stevens

  • GOAL – SAN JOSE – 2-1 Barracuda: The Barracuda capitalize early on the man-advantage despite DiPietro making an incredible glove stop on Blichfield. While sprawled out, San Jose’s Scott Reedy pokes the uncontrolled puck under a parked DiPietro. A tough one for DiPietro.
  • GOAL – SAN JOSE – 3-1 Barracuda: San Jose’s Jake McGrew puts the Barracuda up by two off a gorgeous play from Ryan Merkley at the Canucks blue line. Merkley dekes Di Giuseppe (#34) on the blue line before slipping a pass around Rempal (#56) to McGrew. The Barracuda score off a shot on DiPietro’s blocker side for the second time tonight.
  • After a d-zone faceoff, San Jose’s Adam Raska heads to the box for interference.

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

  • GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 3-2 Barracuda: Less than seven minutes left in the game, and the Canucks powerplay scores their second of the night. Phil Di Giuseppe (#34) riding the CanucksConvo bump tees up a massive one-timer on the powerplay to put the Canucks back within one!
  • Canucks are finally showing some life after a lacklustre start to the period.

2nd period:

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

  • Good control for the first unit, but they lose the zone, and PP2 hops on

PP2: Petan, Stevens, Rathbone, Rempal, Bailey

  • GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 3-3 TIE: With three seconds remaining on the powerplay, Nic Petan (#7) scores his fourth of the year to even things at three! Justin Bailey (#95) dishes a slick backhand pass to Petan, who shows a little bit of patience before wiring a shot high over Melnichuk’s glove side!

PK1: Lockwood, Rathbone, Bowey, Dries

PK1: Rathbone, Lockwood, Hamonic, Dries

PK1: Juulsen, Hamonic, Dries, Di Giuseppe

3rd period:

  • Canucks start the third with a seven-second penalty kill.

PK1: Petan, Lockwood, Bailey, Bowey

6v5: Rempal, Petan, Dries, Lockwood, Rathbone, Di Giuseppe

  • GOAL – SAN JOSE – 6-4 Barracuda: An ill-advised drop pass from Will Lockwood (#10) results in Evan Weinger scoring the empty netter for San Jose.
  • Canucks fail to build on their win streak while San Jose ends theirs at four.

RESULT:

San Jose Barracuda def. Abbotsford Canucks 6-4

SCORESHEET:

Game 16 Scoresheet vs. San Jose

TAKEAWAYS:

  • Trent Cull was the most frustrated I’d ever seen him. Cull was not happy with his team’s effort post-game, “I didn’t like us from the start, at the end, I didn’t like the game at all. [We] had a little bit of different guys in the lineup, but we had no synchronicity. I felt that as a group, we looked a little bit disjointed from the start. At no point did I feel like it worked itself out.”
  • Cull was happy with his special teams despite the poor play at 5v5, “our powerplay was really good tonight. So that’s, I guess, the one shining moment about the game.”
  • When asked about the team’s 5v5 performance, Cull seemed genuinely perplexed by his group’s effort, “Yeah, I don’t know — that wasn’t the same team that I coached a couple of nights ago. We weren’t firm enough or hard enough, and I thought we let them dictate the pace of play.
  • When discussing Michael DiPietro’s performance, Cull lamented the team’s discipline, “we took three dumb penalties in the last ten minutes of the second period. Sure, we’re happy with Mikey for keeping us in it. In between periods, I was talking to the coaches like nothing was secure in this game.”
  • The Abby Canucks were outshot twenty-three to thirteen over the final forty minutes of play.
  • I think this might be the first time I’ve ever watched a team pull their goalie six minutes into the second period and pull off the win. The Barracuda were practically begging the Canucks to put them away, but as Trent Cull said, it never really felt like the Canucks secured anything in this game. Each of the Sharks’ three goals in the final period felt like an inevitability; the Canucks just weren’t generating anything.
  • Quietly, Justin Bailey has been downright awful since his stint with the Vancouver Canucks. He still opens up the ice with his patented speed, but he’s been quite invisible since returning to the AHL squad, just one point in his last five games in Abbotsford after six in his first five games of the season.
  • Asked Rathbone about his time on the PK tonight, I noticed a significant uptick in his ice time while shorthanded. “More opportunity on [the PK] is never a bad thing,” Rathbone stated, “I’ve learned a lot from coach Agnew; It’s a work in progress, but it was good to get out there with [Madison Bowey] and get some kills.”
  • Don’t read too heavily into Travis Hamonic playing on his left side. According to Trent Cull, when I asked if this was a mandate from Vancouver, Cull asserted that “it was nothing to do with that, that was just a spot that we had open.”
  • Hamonic was fine tonight. I didn’t really notice him in the offensive zone. However, I did notice him on the two goals against in the third period. He’s not long for the AHL, so it’s whatever.
  • As someone who was almost named ‘Dakota’ by his parents, I need to shout out Montana Onyebuchi’s elite hockey name. Well done Mr. and Mrs. Onyebuchi.
  • Cam Schilling casually has nine points through thirteen games with the Abbotsford Canucks; between his utility as a powerplay QB, a penalty killer and a hard-nosed vet in the d-zone, safe to say the Canucks are getting their money’s worth out of Schilling’s AHL deal!
  • Don’t look now, but Will Lockwood has six points in ten games, and Phil Di Giuseppe has fourteen in sixteen games played. These two should be seeing call-ups to the Canucks during their six-game homestand. They need some fresh looks now more than ever. Neither PDG nor Lockwood will push the needle enough to undo the NHL Canucks poor play. At the very least, PDG/Lockwood will offer a fresh face to a bottom-six group that has combined for five goals in twenty-five games.
    • I mean, folks are tossing their jersey’s on the ice in Vancouver. A cup of coffee for PDG/Lockwood can’t hurt, right? RIGHT?!

Cody’s Three Stars

  1. Michael DiPietro
  2. Chris Faber – for doing the Canucks warm-up downtown at Sportsnet studios until 6 PM, then ripping out to Abbotsford for the game.
  3. Nic Petan

Next Up on the Docket

The Canucks and Barracuda are back for the rematch tomorrow at 4 PM PST.

I am pretty burnt out, so no recap from me!

Keep an eye out on my Twitter for the latest stats updates!

Plugs

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