The Abbotsford Canucks have consistently had the Gulls number this season.
Last night, the Farm defeated the Gulls five to three, starting with Yushiroh Hirano’s first AHL goal just ten seconds into the game! Hirano’s goal made him the first Japanese-born and Japanese-trained player to score in the AHL!
— Cody Severtson (@CodySevertson) January 23, 2022
Today, the Canucks run it back against the Gulls, with Joe Murdaca making his second consecutive start between the pipes.
Murdaca has spent time floating around the ECHL as a backup through most of the 2021-22 season. Last season, Murdaca played four games for the Knoxville Ice Bears out of the SPHL.
Artūrs Šilovs acted as the Canucks back up on Saturday, presumably to give the team a better shot of winning in the Sunday game. However, Vancouver’s goalie situation necessitated Šilovs’ call-up. Unfortunately, Šilovs tested posted for COVID! So now the Canucks are expected to start Michael DiPietro with EBUG, Rylan Toth on backup duty!
Two difficult situations for both Canucks teams this Sunday. The Farm battled hard for Murdaca his first AHL victory on Saturday. Can they repeat the effort despite the quick turnaround?
Let’s find out in today’s VERY hung-over edition of the Harvest!
Looking for back-2️⃣-back against the Gulls!
➡️ Murdaca gets the start after winning his first career AHL game yesterday
➡️ Juulsen enters on a career high four-game point streak (6 assists)
➡️ Petan enters with nine assists over his last nine games⁰#AbbyCanucks pic.twitter.com/qUnJi4Svl2
— Abbotsford Canucks (@abbycanucks) January 24, 2022
- As stated, Murdaca starts again while Trinity Western ATO Talor Joseph provides backup duty.
- Nicolas Guay slides in for Keltie Jeri-Leon.
- Don’t look now, but Noah Juulsen is currently on pace to have the best production in his pro career. His eight points in twenty-four games eclipse his previous high-water mark of six points in thirty-one AHL games in 2017-18! Good for him!
Don’t feel like reading? Click here for spoilers!!
- Yushiroh Hirano (#71) pressures along the boards and forces a turnover. Hirano turns for a quick pass into the slot, but it’s just out of Sheldon Rempal’s (#56) reach.
- Madison Bowey (#4) throws a pass up the boards that hops past Danila Klimovich (#46). San Diego’s Mike McKee holds the zone and throws a shot attempt towards Murdaca from the line.
- Tristen Nielsen (#84) plays Nicolas Guay’s (#91) breakout pass off his skate and slips Nikolas Brouillard in the neutral zone for the zone entry.
- After entering the offensive zone, Vincent Arseneau (#18) drops for Brandon Cutler (#48), and Cutler throws two shot attempts on Francis Marotte.
- Nic Petan (#7) blocks a shot attempt that Devante Stephens (#24) catches. Stephens sends Hirano (#71) down the ice with a quick-up pass. Hirano slips Brayden Tracey for the shot on goal.
- Nielsen (#84) boogies into the offensive zone with speed pulls back on the puck only to have his shot deflected by Brouillard.
- A bit of an odd interaction in the d-zone as Bowey (#4) lets a reversal go into the half wall. Chase Wouters (#21) elects to go high, and Danila Klimovich (#46) is forced to move high to low to retrieve the puck.
- Bowey (#4) races down the ice to catch Stephens (#24) missed shot attempt at the side of the net while Petan (#7) slips around Lucas Elvenes, moving to the netfront. Bowey catches the puck and dishes to Petan for two dangerous shot attempts on Marotte.
- GOAL – SAN DIEGO – 1-0 Gulls: A goal-against that definitely falls into the “oh boy, he’ll really want that one back!” category. A giveaway in the neutral zone leads to San Diego’s first real setup in the offensive zone, and they score a greasy one. Canucks second-line of Phil Di Giuseppe (#34), John Stevens (#16), and Will Lockwood (#10) is caught asleep at the wheel as Sean Josling cuts to the slot uncontested for the initial shot on Murdaca. Morgan Adams-Moisan spots the loose puck that trickles through Murdaca’s pads and opens the scoring on just the sixth shot of the period.
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 1-1 Tie: A fantastic response from the Canucks evens things up at one just eighteen seconds later! A shot attempt from Klimovich (#46) sails wide of the net but rebounds out to Noah Juulsen (#47), who wires a shot on Marotte. Wouters (#21), at the side of the net, picks up the loose puck and squeezes it past Marotte’s left pad and into the net. Juulsen is now riding a five-game point streak! Wouters scores his first goal since November 14th!
- Gulls’ draw a boarding penalty against Sheldon Rempal (#56) after an incredibly dicey check from behind on Axel Andersson.
PK1: Sautner, Juulsen, Di Giuseppe, Stevens
- Nik Brouillard misses a pass to the blue line, and the Gulls’ are forced to reset in the neutral zone.
- Ashton Sautner (#6) steals the puck from Hunter Drew and clears the zone for Abbotsford.
PK2: Stephens, Bowey, Lockwood, Wouters
- Brayden Tracey, pressured by Wouters (#21), throws a pass straight to Lockwood (#10). Lockwood sends Wouters deep with a dump-in from center ice.
- GOAL – SAN DIEGO – 2-1 Gulls: With one second left on the penalty kill, Benoit-Olivier Groulx drills a one-timer into a wide-open net to regain the lead. Bryce Kindopp screens Murdaca at the netfront, and Brayden Tracey fools him with the fake-shot to no-look pass to Groulx. Three goals on ten shots so far!
- Stephens (#24) with a pretty evasive manoeuver in the d-zone only to throw the puck up-ice to no one.
- Kodie Curran slips Klimovich (#46) then dishes to Hunter Drew for a shot off the crossbar.
- Guay (#91) picks off a pass and sends Arseneau (#18) into the offensive zone. Arseneau protects off the entry and dishes cross-ice to Bowey (#4) for the shot attempt.
- Juulsen (#47) throws a hit in the neutral zone that forces a turnover. Hirano (#71) picks up the loose puck and enters the zone for a dangerous wrist shot on Marotte.
- Hirano (#71) eats a hit while going cross-ice with a pass to Petan (#7) for the shot on goal.
- Canucks close the period having outshot the Gulls eleven to seven.
- Gulls held to one shot on net over the final eight minutes of the period!
- Petan (#7) floats a fantastic pass to Rempal (#56) on the doorstep for two dangerous scoring chances. Marotte with two excellent saves while completely sprawled on the ice.
- Nielsen (#84) draws a boarding penalty against Jack Badini. Nielsen stayed on one knee for a few minutes before skating to the bench.
PP1: Petan, Lockwood, Rempal, Di Giuseppe, Bowey
- PP1 loses the zone early and is forced to reset multiple times.
- Gulls wrestle control of the puck in the neutral zone and chew tonnes of time off the clock. Brutal powerplay for Abbotsford.
PP2: Klimovich, Hirano, Stevens, Arseneau, Juulsen
- Canucks caught sleeping in the d-zone as Brent Gates Jr. cuts towards Murdaca for a shorthanded try.
- Arseneau (#18) wraps around the net and sets up Klimovich (#46) for a shot on Marotte.
- Adam Brubacher (#2) sparks a scrum after taking exception to a late shot on Murdaca from Maxim Golod.
- San Diego is caught with six skaters on the ice, Canucks head back to the powerplay.
PP2: Klimovich, Hirano, Stevens, Arseneau, Juulsen
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 2-2 Tie: Six seconds was all the Canucks need this time as Stevens (#16) wins the puck back to Juulsen (#47) on the line for a shot on Marotte. Arseneau (#18) tips Juulsen’s shot at the netfront, and we have a tie game! A great goal for Arseneau, who returned this weekend after being sidelined with COVID last week.
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 3-2 Canucks: Forty seconds later, and the Canucks have their first lead of the game! Yushiroh Hirano (#71) scores his second in as many games after picking up Rempal’s (#56) wraparound attempt at the side of the net and batting it past Marotte’s right skate.
- Brent Gates bumps Nicolas Guay after the whistle, and Arseneau (#18) steps in to put the fear of God into him.
- Wouters (#21) with a solid defensive effort to tie up B.O. Groulx in the slot
- Nielsen (#84) forces Curran into trouble inside the Canucks d-zone, allowing Klimovich (#46) to race down the ice on a breakaway! Klimovich dekes to the backhand for a shot on Marotte, then picks up his rebound for a through-the-legs drop pass to Nielsen for a secondary scoring chance. What a play from the nineteen-year-old!
- Ten minutes into the second period and the Canucks have doubled their shots on goal total!
- A miscue between Sautner (#6) and Lockwood (#10) at the Gulls blueline leads to a scoring chance for San Diego the other way.
- Alex Kannok Leipert heads to the box for crosschecking; Canucks off to their second penalty kill of the game!
PK1: Sautner, Juulsen, Stevens, Di Giuseppe
- Brouillard fans on a one-timer, allowing Juulsen (#47) to clear for Abbotsford.
- Wouters hops on for Stevens.
- Di Giuseppe picks off two passes and clears the zone twice for Abbotsford.
PK1: Lockwood, Stephens, Bowey, Stevens swaps for Wouters
- Canucks kill the penalty, and as Kannok Leipert leaves the box, Lockwood draws a tripping penalty against Jack Badini. Canucks head to the powerplay!
PP2: Juulsen, Stevens, Arseneau, Hirano, Klimovich
- Juulsen is racking up TOI with Abbotsford lately as a first-out penalty killer and now quarterbacking the powerplay.
- Marotte turns away a one-timer from Hirano (#71)
PP1: Petan, Lockwood, Rempal, Di Giuseppe, Bowey
- Thirty seconds to work for PP1, and they spend most of it trying to gain the zone.
- Joe Murdaca makes a fantastic save on Brent Gates at the conclusion of the Canucks powerplay opportunity.
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 4-2 Canucks: Wow. What a goal! After an offensive zone faceoff, Sautner (#6) floats a gorgeous saucer pass to Rempal (#56), who bats the puck past Marotte mid-air! Wow. WOW! Incredible hand-eye from Rempal. Second multi-point night in a row for Ashton Sautner!
- Canucks thoroughly dominate the second period; three straight goals to put them up by two while having outshot the Gulls TWENTY-FIVE TO EIGHT! Not a typo!
- John Stevens (#16) with a solid defensive recovery effort after a giveaway at the blueline
- Klimovich (#46) hammers a one-timer on Marotte from the point
- Hirano (#71) with a sliding defensive effort to takeaway the Gulls pass to Brayden Tracey.
- Bryce Kindopp nearly puts the Gulls within one, but fans on his shot attempt after slipping past Hirano.
- Di Giuseppe takes a “crosschecking penalty” for this play (bottom left of screen)
- Canucks to their third penalty kill of the game
PK1: Wouters, Lockwood, Sautner, Juulsen
PK2: Petan, Stevens, Bowey, Stephens
- Devante Stephens blocks a shot then clears the zone for Abbotsford
- San Diego pulls Marotte for the extra attacker
- Sautner (#6) drops to a knee and takes a hard shot to the ass!
- Di Giuseppe leaves the box then immediately takes a tripping penalty.
PK1: Sautner, Petan, Juulsen, Stevens
- A one-timer from Brent Gates swings around the boards and into the neutral zone, forcing the Gulls to reset.
- Yikes, Juulsen (#47) heads to the box for tripping with one minute and thirty seconds remaining in the third!
- San Diego to have an extended six on three!
PK1: Sautner, Bowey, Stevens
- Murdaca with a clutch glove stop on Groulx!
- Bowey flips the puck out of the zone, but the Gulls instantly re-enter to setup.
- Sautner (#6) blocks a shot with his other cheek!
- Murdaca hugs his post and makes another huge save on Groulx!
- Twenty-five seconds left, and Joe Murdaca makes tremendous saves on Brayden Tracey and Groulx before jumping on the puck for a whistle!
PK2: Wouters, Lockwood, Stephens
- Wouters (#21) lays down the stick to pick off Tracey’s pass and nearly scores an empty-netter before the buzzer sounds!
- A bit of a tedious third period punctuated by some very questionable penalties towards the end. Nonetheless, the Abbotsford Canucks shut it down, held San Diego to six shots on goal, and Joe Murdaca has his second AHL win in as many days!
Abbotsford Canucks def. San Diego Gulls 4-2
- Massive props to the Abbotsford Canucks for their clinical “shut’er down” effort in the third period. The Gulls didn’t have too many scoring chances, but when they did, the Canucks skaters were constantly getting sticks and bodies in the way to limit the amount of danger heading Murdaca’s way.
- I thought tonight was one of Chase Wouters’ better games! Good speed, great in the dot, and decent offensive IQ.
- Noah Juulsen and Ashton Sautner casually end their weekend with five points and four points, respectively. Not bad for two defencemen not known for offence!
Let’s talk about Yushiroh Hirano! I don’t think enough noise has been made about what a unicorn he is! Hirano started out in Shirakaba Gakuen High before moving to Sweden to play for Tingrsyds AIF in the J20 SuperElit league as a nineteen-year-old. Hirano moved stateside to play for the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL before two years with the Tohoku Free Blades of the Asia League. Hirano returned to Sweden to play for Kalmar HC in Division 2. After helping promote Kalmar HC into Division 1, Hirano was signed by the Pittsburgh Penguins affiliated Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL. *Cough* Jim Rutherford *cough*. This season, he signed with the Cincinnati Cyclones, leading the team with 29 points in 25 games. Since he was sixteen, Hirano has been featured on every National team for Japan, except for the 2017-18 season. Hirano’s journey is quite incredible. A monument to perseverance in the face of adversity. My favourite part about Hirano is the fact that he’s been BLOGGING ABOUT HIS JOURNEY THE ENTIRE TIME! There’s some great stuff in his writing (albeit a little janky due to Google translate, but he shares an inspiring message!) I love this bit from the blog bio:
Bringing Japan up to the world standard
I believe that playing in a league as high as the ECHL, AHL, and NHL, and delivering that experience to the children of Japan, and having them be moved and encouraged by it, will lead to their own dreams. Just as there were pioneers in baseball who challenged the MLB, I would like to accomplish the same thing in the ice hockey world. That is why I will cherish my “time”, my “life”, and push forward towards the top.
Hirano is a long shot at making the NHL, but I’ve been thoroughly impressed by his vision, reads, and playmaking. If the Canucks are interested in Hirano as a potential AHL feature, they should hook him up with a strength and conditioning coach or a power skating coach. The IQ is clearly there, and his success alongside Petan and Rempal is proof of concept that he can be an effective player at the AHL level against top competition!
While the hockey world reels in the wake of the two racist incidents against Boko Imama and Jordan Subban, I urge you all to read this blog piece from Hirano.
The piece was written after the Wheeling Nailers Pearl Harbour memorial night game back in 2018. In the write-up, Hirano details some of the racist behaviour directed towards him by his teammates!
The piece isn’t necessarily about the racism he was subjected to. Instead, Hirano’s write-up focuses entirely on Pearl Harbour’s impact and how he can be a better, more thoughtful, caring, and considerate person moving forward.
The hockey world has a long way to go if it truly intends to be “for everyone.” The hockey world needs more thoughtfulness. Dare I say it, more perspective and outlook from the Yushiroh Hirano’s of the hockey world.
Yeah, the AHL Nucks Harvest has found its boy for the season.
For me, a “dream” is life itself. I believe that my value is to become a person who can definitely produce results and have a positive impact on Japan in the near future.
Cody’s Three Stars
- Nic Petan
- Yushiroh Hirano
- Noah Juulsen and Ashton Sautner
HM: These fans
— Cody Severtson (@CodySevertson) January 24, 2022
Next Up on the Docket
The Farm returns next Saturday and Sunday for a double-header versus the Manitoba Meese.
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