GAMEDAY RECAP: A refreshed Abbotsford lineup ends their losing streak and spoils $2 beer night

The Abbotsford Canucks look to bounce back from last week’s miserable return to action with double-header weekend versus the San Diego Gulls.

Canucks 2022 record to date

To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Bakersfield Condors annihilated the depleted roster of the Farm team last weekend.

  • Out-attempted at 5v5 by sixty-five across three games
  • Outscored fourteen to five
  • Bakersfield’s powerplay went 2/13, while Abbotsford’s powerplay went 0/10

Game 23:

  • The healthiest the Canucks were last week, and it required playing Alex Kannok Leipert as a fourth-line forward
  • A devastating open-ice hit by Bakersfield’s Luke Esposito took Carson Focht out of action
    • The AHL did not suspend Esposito for the hit in question.

Game 24:

  • The first COVID wave left the Canucks with only ten forwards and five defenceman
    • Two of the forwards dressing for Abbotsford were ECHL PTO’s in Brandon Cutler and Yushiroh Hirano
    • One of the forwards was a PTO from USports in Nicolas Guay
  • The Canucks held an improbable two-goal lead only to lose it during the final minute of the third period and eventually, overtime.

Game 25:

  • The Canucks taxi squad makes some moves, recalling Sheldon Rempal and Ashton Sautner from Abbotsford’s already depleted lineup.
  • The exhausted Farm team gets destroyed in shot attempts.
    • The negative-40 shot-attempt differential at 5v5 was the worst in any game I’ve tracked over the past three seasons.
      • The AHL team’s second-worst shot-attempt differential occurred on November 23rd, 2019, against the Laval Rocket. In that game, the Utica Comets were out-attempted by thirty-two and won by a score of 4-2!

The cherry on top of last week’s turd-cake of a weekend; the Canucks saw another game postponed due to COVID-related reasons.

On the one hand, it’s great that the Canucks got an extra day to have guys recover and come off COVID protocol. But bad that it came at the expense of more Abbotsford players testing positive.

ECHL PTOs

The batch of ECHL PTOs performed admirably, all things considered. However, they too got worked by the Condors. Hard to fault them, as all five players came to Abbotsford on short notice and played infinitely more than any ECHL PTO usually plays in an AHL cup of coffee.

Heck, defenceman Garrett Johnston arrived from Newfoundland only to find out his gear didn’t!

TLDR; last week was a wash for Abbotsford. Fortunately, they can pretend it never happened and start fresh this week in sunny San Diego!

TRANSACTIONS

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THE OPPOSITION

Great news for the Canucks as the Anaheim recently recalled their AHL goaltending tandem to buffer for the injured John Gibson.

San Diego’s tandem tonight consists of Jeff Glass and Francis Marotte.

  • Jeff Glass famously made his NHL debut against the Edmonton Oilers, where he saved 42/45 en route to a 4-3 victory in overtime *deep sigh* For Chicago…
  • Marotte is two years removed from four years of NCAA hockey, his AHL numbers have been rough in limited looks, and his ECHL numbers this season are pretty unspectacular.

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STARTING ROSTER

  • Rathbone rejoins the lineup after missing the last eight games due to injury.
  • Di Giuseppe rejoins after missing the last six games with the Canucks/COVID-Protocol.
Game 26 Lineup: CORSI stats

Tonight’s lineup doesn’t have much experience playing with each other on their respective lines, but my goodness, it’s nice to have a real lineup again!

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

GAME 26:

1st period:

PK1: Bailey, Stevens, Stephens, Juulsen

PK2: Wouters, Rathbone, Woo, Lockwood

  • How’s that for a PK unit!?

PK3: Nielsen, Di Giuseppe,

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

2nd period:

  • Canucks start the second period with a minute-thirteen on the powerplay!

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

PK1: Stevens, Bailey, Woo, Stephens

PK2: Rathbone, Juulsen

PK2: Stephens, Woo, Wouters, Dries

PP2: Lukosevicius, Cutler, Woo, Klimovich, Hirano

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

  • San Diego generates three shot attempts off the ensuing faceoff to kill the rest of the period.
  • San Diego dominated Abbotsford this period, a complete inverse of the first!
    • San Diego outshot the Canucks twelve to five, but the Canucks outscore the Gulls three-zip after forty minutes.

3rd period:

  • Canucks start the period with fifty-three seconds of powerplay time!

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

  • Time winds down on this one. Mikey DiPietro picks up his much-needed fourth win of the season.

RESULT:

Abbotsford Canucks def. San Diego Gulls 5-1

SCORESHEET:

Game 26 Scoresheet versus San Diego

TAKEAWAYS:

  • The Abbotsford Canucks earn a much-needed win after a string of brutal losses to start the year. Though the second period was quite messy, I thought their first period was quite strong, and they shut things down quite well in the third. The Canucks held San Diego to only seven shots on goal in the final frame, preventing them from generating any momentum after the Elvenes goal.
  • Mikey DiPietro needed that win badly! A shutout would have been nice. But I think he’ll take whatever he can get at this point! Tonight’s win is just his fourth this season and his first since November 30th! DiPietro finished the game with a stellar 0.958 save percentage and a 1.00 goals-against-average. DiPietro looked much more like his old “clutch” self.
  • Rathbone wasn’t noticeable offensively, but I noticed him quite a bit in the d-zone around the net. Rathbone was physically assertive and doing a solid job of preventing rebound chances from the netfront.
  • The Canucks need to polish up their breakouts. The Canucks attempted the “bump exit” play multiple times tonight only to fail. The bump-exit is simply a stationary skater shuffling a pass to a skater moving out of the d-zone with speed. For whatever reason, the Canucks kept throwing the puck to San Diego players repeatedly on these exit attempts. Perhaps, fatigue from the long layoffs due to COVID or injury? Whatever it was, it wasn’t pretty.
  • Kudos to John Stevens for being an effective presence at 5v5 and shorthanded. The combination of him and Bailey has proven to be quite lethal for Abbotsford despite the clear speed difference between the two forwards. Stevens finished the game with one goal and two assists on four shots. Stevens was also on-ice for four of the Canucks five goals-for, an impressive stat-line for the veteran centerman.
  • I liked Klimovich’s effort tonight! I was worried that his missed stick-check on Kodie Curran’s breakout would result in another benching. Fortunately, Cull recognized Klimovich’s effort tonight and the three shifts he took in the final ten minutes of the game resulted in one of the nastiest snipes of the season.
  • Noah Juulsen had a rough game tonight. He ended the night as a +3, but he was one of the guys most frequently caved-in during the second period.
  • Di Giuseppe and Petan looked to have not missed a beat. Petan was quiet as the game moved into the 3rd period, but he had a strong game despite the lack of points.
  • I think Jett Woo caught the Gulls off-guard with his physicality. On more than one occasion, a Gulls’ skater would attempt to run through Woo with a check only to be planted on the ice by Woo simply standing his ground. He had a really good defensive game tonight, but I still find myself underwhelmed by his offensive game.
  • Sheldon Dries was quite hit-or-miss all night. Some plays were really good, and some were very *queasy-face emoji*
  • Lockwood had a solid return game highlighted by his usual tenacity and forechecking prowess but had several of those dumb giveaway moments that make you shake your head.

  • @Abbotsford_Canucks_entertainment_department: please host a $2 beer night for the next home game please. The San Diego crowd-inserts were as entertaining as the actual game! There is something hysterical about seeing EVERY ADULT skulling a can of bud-light in the crowd. You wouldn’t even know their home team was getting crushed on the scoreline. They were having a ball!

Cody’s Three Stars

  1. John Stevens
  2. Tristen Nielsen
  3. Michael DiPietro

HM: Justin Bailey

Next Up on the Docket

The Abbotsford Canucks face the Gulls tomorrow at 7 PM PST in the rematch.

Plugs

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