GAMEDAY RECAP: A bag fumbling for the ages and the Canucks “winning culture” thing

Since embarking on their five-game road trip last week, the Abbotsford Canucks have seen five players recalled to Vancouver for spot duty.

  • Noah Juulsen
  • Phil Di Giuseppe
  • Guillaume Brisebois
  • Madison Bowey
  • Ashton Sautner

While on this roadie, the Abby Canucks also lost Jack Rathbone and Jett Woo to injuries.

Now, Sautner was signed to a one-year two-way contract after the Canucks placed defenceman Tyler Myers on their COVID protocol list. Since then, the NHL has postponed the Vancouver Canucks weekend double-header. The cancelled games allowed the Canucks to return Sautner to Abbotsford. Unfortunately, he will have to miss today’s game while waiting to clear the waiver wire.

For those keeping track, that means the Junior Canucks will be without the bulk of their d-core in today’s game against the Henderson Silver Knights.

The Junior Nucks picked up their first PTO from the ECHL in the Idaho Steelheads, Darren Brady, who joins former teammate, and fellow RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) alum Adam Brubacher, as a defenceman.

Brady is the third RIT alum to dress for the Canucks AHL affiliate in the last two seasons. Brubacher was second after right-winger Shawn Cameron, who played eleven games for the Utica Comets during the abbreviated 2020-21 season last year.

Game 21: Potential D composition

Yikes.

YIKES!

To quote Thomas Drance, “what are we even doing here?”

THE OPPOSITION

Canucks/Silver Knights Head-to-head

The last time the Silver Knights and Canucks played, the Vegas Golden Knights were in the midst of a devastating injury wave.

  • Game 1: The Canucks overcame a one-goal deficit to force overtime and win.
  • Game 2: The Canucks earned a shutout on the back of a 26-save performance by Arturs Silovs.

In October, the HS Knights played two games against Abbotsford while down two forwards and one defenceman. They’ll have a full roster to work with tonight while Abbotsford takes a turn playing down.

  • Henderson is on a two-game win streak and is 6-3-0-1 in their last ten games played.
    • Henderson is rocking the league’s 12th-best powerplay, and 16th ranked penalty kill.
  • Abbotsford is coming off a four-nothing defeat of the San Diego Gulls and is 5-4-0-1 in their last ten games played.
    • Abbotsford is rocking the 3rd-best powerplay in the league and the 11th-best penalty kill.

The Canucks sit three points back of the third-placed Silver Knights while having played the same number of games. A victory today would go a long way to boost Abbotsford’s playoff aspirations.

STARTING ROSTER

  • Martin over DiPietro/Silovs has to be a troll, right? These two combined for eleven games of professional hockey last season! Why aren’t they playing?!
  • That defence is going to get torched.

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

GAME 21:

1st period:

PP1: Bailey, Stevens, Rempal, Petan, Schilling

  • Canucks lose the faceoff then spend forty seconds struggling to re-enter the zone. PP2 subs onto the ice for the final minute and twenty seconds.

PP2: Brubacher, Arseneau, Dries, Lockwood, Klimovich

PK1: Schilling, Rempal, Stevens, Stephens

  • Sheldon Rempal (#56) deflects a shot attempt, and Devante Stephens (#24) picks up the loose puck for the clearance.

PK1: Petan, Lockwood, Brubacher, Kannok Leipert

2nd period:

PP1: Stevens, Bailey, Klimovich, Dries, Brubacher

  • GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 1-0 Canucks: Justin Bailey tips Adam Brubacher’s wrist shot from the point to give the Canucks the first lead of the game! Sheldon Dries (#15) picks up a secondary assist on the setup for Brubacher.

 

PP1: Bailey, Rempal, Schilling, Petan, Stevens

PK1: Bailey, Stephens, Dries, Kannok Leipert

PK2: Stephens, Rempal, Kannok Leipert, Stevens

PK3: Petan, Brubacher, Schilling, Lockwood

  • Canucks clear the zone, PK1 hops back on the ice, and Kannok Leipert blocks another shot.
  • Carson Focht leaves the box, and the Canucks generate a couple of quick shot attempts against Logan Thompson.
  • Canucks finish the middle frame outshot eight to seven, nineteen to twelve after forty minutes.

3rd period:

PK1: Schilling, Stevens, Dries

  • GOAL – HENDERSON – 1-1 Tie: Eleven seconds into the 4-on-3 PK and Jack Dugan wires a one-timer over Martin’s right shoulder.
  • GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 2-1 Canucks: Just. Like. That. Henderson’s Peter DiLiberator misplays the puck inside the Canucks d-zone, and Justin Bailey (#95) capitalizes for a breakaway goal on Logan Thompson. Sheldon Dries (#15) won’t get an assist, but he makes a nice play by slowing down DiLiberatore’s backchecking effort without taking an interference penalty. Justin Bailey picks up his second of the night.

 

PK1: Stevens, Dries, Brubacher, Kannok Leipert

  • GOAL – HENDERSON – 2-2 Tie: Jake Leschyshyn tips a point shot from Daniil Miromanov past Martin, and we are all tied with less than five minutes to go in the third. Brubacher (#2) and Kannok Leipert (#41) caught puck-watching, with neither guy applying any sort of pressure on Leschyshyn before the shot.
  • PK number seven for Abbotsford after Lucas Elvenes draws a hooking penalty against Will Lockwood.

PK1: Bailey, Dries, Schilling, Stephens,

  • Canucks win the faceoff and clear the zone.
  • Derrick Pouliot misses the net on his one-timer; seconds later, Pouliot head to the box for hooking. Canucks with a massive opportunity in the final thirty-eight seconds of the period to regain the lead.
  • Canucks win the draw but lose the zone; Canucks get a shot on net from Schilling, but the buzzer sounds to send this game to overtime.

Overtime

  • Canucks start the period with 1:22 of 4-on-3 powerplay time.

PP1: Rempal, Petan, Bailey, Schilling

  • Lengthy delay as the timekeepers try to reset the clock.
  • GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 3-2 CanucksWill Lockwood wins it in overtime for the Canucks! After setting up Sheldon Dries (#15) for a one-timer chance on Thompson, Lockwood (#10) crashes in on the rebound to knock the puck over Thompson’s right pad and seal it for Abbotsford.
    • Weird-ass game.

 

RESULT:

Abbotsford Canucks def. Henderson Silver Knights 3-2 in Overtime

SCORESHEET:

Game 21 Scoresheet versus Henderson

TAKEAWAYS:

  • Coming into today’s game, Cameron Schilling was the most experience blueliner for the Canucks, with 592 AHL games played. Devante Stephens came into tonight’s game as the second-most experienced defenceman for Abbotsford, with 87 AHL games played. Kannok Leipert, Brubacher, and Brady combined for seventeen AHL games played. SEVENTEEN! THERE WERE ONLY FIVE OF THEM PLAYING TODAY!
  • The Canucks had ZERO business winning this game. Credit to Abbotsford for the early lead and for overcoming two game-tying goals by Henderson.
  • The Canucks lack of quality defencemen was apparent tonight as they could hardly establish a clean puck cycle in the offensive zone to save their lives. In-zone defensive coverage was also a glaring weakness. The most I can say is the Canucks made the Silver Knights work hard for their looks.
  • Despite some bad pinches, misplays with the puck, and a few missed d-zone assignments, Alex Kannok Leipert did step up to the plate fairly well. AKL had several crucial shot-blocks that denied Henderson sure-goals. While AKL did not factor in scoring, he was one of the few players on the team actively blocking shots or playing with an edge.
  • The majority of the roster was quite passive and unremarkable throughout. Arseneau attempted a few crushing hits, Lockwood threw his body around and scored, and Bailey effectively used his trademark speed. Otherwise, it was a largely uneventful and dull hockey game due to the Canucks weak ability to move the puck around and the Silver Knights’ downright bad puck luck. Truly, the bounces were on the Canucks side tonight. They finished the game outshot thirty-one to twenty-five.
  • Devante Stephens also stepped up for Abbotsford, that is, until the final period when he took two needless penalties in a row. Down a defenceman and playing with an ECHL PTO, the team could not afford to lose one of its default penalty killers to discipline issues. He’ll need to be much smarter in Sunday’s game.

  • Get Spencer Martin out of the crease. Nobody is following Abbotsford with the hopes they develop a winning culture. They want entertaining games, and they want to see prospects developing. Spencer Martin is a career AHL goalie at this point. The team knows what Martin is. Yes, Michael DiPietro has struggled this season, but he needs to overcome his struggles by playing games, not sitting as the backup. Arturs Silovs played seven games of professional hockey last year. He should be starting if DiPietro is struggling. If Silovs is struggling, DiPietro should be starting. It’s that simple. Martin was a great buffer pickup by the Vancouver Canucks in the event Halak or Demko went down with an injury. He was not signed to steal the crease from two young prospects who need reps.

  • Two teams committed to creating an environment for development are the Ontario Reign and the Binghamton Devils. Both teams are icing some of the youngest rosters in the league. After a few seasons of struggling, they currently sit among the top teams in the league. Both squads owe their current success to their U23 skaters. Both the Devils and the Kings have stockpiled draft capital over the past five drafts, and their AHL teams are ripe with young, dynamic talent because of it. The Canucks under Jim Benning had maintained their desire to create a “winning culture.” After eight years under the last regime, is there even a “winning culture” present? Outside of a single Calder Playoff run back in 2016-17, the Canucks haven’t had any success in the AHL in the last eight years. They’ve been bad on-ice, and they haven’t developed anyone either. Martin earning starts in five of the last seven games is more of the same problem with this organization’s handling of its AHL team. It’s time. Play the fucking kids.
  • The Canucks have won three of four against Henderson and could make it a season-sweep tomorrow.
  • LMAO, five defencemen. I cannot believe Henderson fumbled the bag this badly.

Cody’s Three Stars

  1. Alex Kannok Leipert
  2. Will Lockwood
  3. Justin Bailey

Next Up on the Docket

The Canucks will rematch the Silver Knights tomorrow. I won’t be recapping as I’ll be checking out the new Spiderman movie instead.

Plugs

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