We are officially past the midway point of the 2021-22 AHL season!
Thirty-four games played, 101 goals scored, 105 goals given up, and the Abbotsford Canucks are sitting 22nd out of 31 teams in league standings.
Okay, they’re sixth in the Pacific Division, so it’s not that bad!
Plus, as discussed on previous Harvests, the Calder Playoffs are extra bizarre this season, with the Pacific Division employing a seven-team playoff bracket. The first overall seed is granted a bye into the second round, while seeds two through seven pair off against each other. After the first round, teams are re-seeded by their in-season points-percentage.
So 22nd in the AHL looks pretty uninspiring, but you can be the third-worst team in the Pacific Division and still make the playoffs!
Adding to their favour, their opponent tonight, the seventh-place Tucson Roadrunners, are 2-8-0-0 in their last ten carrying the second-worst goals-against per game in the AHL.
- The worst goals-against per game in the league belongs to the San Jose Barracuda, averaging 4.13 goals-against EVERY GAME!
Despite their struggles, the Roadrunners have beat the Canucks twice in regulation this season. Another loss to the Roadies wouldn’t be catastrophic. But, a regulation loss to Tucson would drop the Canucks points-percentage down to 48.57% and bump the Roadies points percentage up to 44.59%.
Not a backbreaker, but being incapable of stealing points during this final stretch of thirty-four games could be catastrophic. The Roadrunners and Gulls have played two more games than the Canucks and are only three and four points back, respectively.
The Canucks are currently .500 on the season for points. Maintaining that mediocre pace will be enough to get them into playoffs. However, a slump of any kind this late in the game could be quite bad for the debuting franchise’s playoff aspirations.
Again, not trying to doom and gloom the farm team. It would be truly impressive to fall out of sixth place and below Tucson and San Diego. Granted, they are riding a three-game losing streak despite having their healthiest roster since opening night.
As said above, the Roadrunners recently curbed an eight-game losing streak with a 5-4 victory over the San Diego Gulls.
The Canucks are winless against the Roadrunners while riding a three-game losing streak.
Danila Klimovich on-ice for pre-game warmups in Abbotsford
— Cody Severtson (@CodySevertson) February 8, 2022
Transactions: #Canucks recall Ashton Sautner and Noah Juulsen. Guillaume Brisebois has been activated from IR and transferred to Abbotsford.
— Canucks PR (@CanucksPR) February 8, 2022
Can I [read the recap] now?
The debut of 🟢 on home ice!
➡️ Rempal enters tonight with a franchise record five-game goal streak
➡️ Bailey and Klimovich both return to the lineup after missing Sunday
➡️ Brisebois has been activated off LTIR, playing his first game with Abbotsford since Dec. 15#AbbyCanucks pic.twitter.com/c7yALInWYh
— Abbotsford Canucks (@abbycanucks) February 8, 2022
- Breeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezebahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh returns after a lengthy injury layoff!
- Yushiroh Hirano, Vinny Arseneau, and Carson Focht sit out for the returning Danila Klimovich, who slides in on a line with Nicolas Guay and Brandon Cutler. Interesting decisions. Arseneau, I understand, as he hasn’t shown much in his last few starts.
Don’t feel like reading? Click here for spoilers!!
- Spencer Martin comes up with two huge saves after the Roadrunners turn around a dump-in attempt while the Canucks execute a line-change.
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 1-0 Canucks: Immediately after Martin’s two huge saves, Phil Di Giuseppe (#34) moves the puck out of the d-zone to Jack Rathbone (#3), who sends Sheldon Dries (#15) in behind Tucson’s defence for his seventeenth goal of the season!
- GOAL – TUCSON – 1-1 Tie: Who else but former Utica Comets forward, Michael Carcone, ties the game at one with a laser beam over Martin’s blocker side. Bit of a brutal read by John Stevens (#16) on Carcone’s d-zone breakout. Carcone cuts inside on Stevens, and despite Rathbone’s (#3) backchecking effort, he beats Martin clean.
- Boko Imama turnstiles Devante Stephens (#24) with a chip-and-chase breakout from the d-zone
- The Tucson playbook appears to be “attack the Canucks right side with speed.”
- A gorgeous give-and-go play from Nic Petan (#7) and Sheldon Rempal (#56) nearly regains the lead for Abbotsford.
- Canucks draw a hooking penalty against Cameron Hebig to earn the evening’s first powerplay.
PP1: Petan, Dries, Rempal, Di Giuseppe, Rathbone
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 2-1 Canucks: Jack Rathbone (#3) picks up his second point of the night with a one-timer from the top of the right circle.
- Danila Klimovich (#46) throws a pretty slick bank pass off the boards to Brandon Cutler (#48) for a shot on Korenar.
- Canucks get hemmed into the d-zone for close to a minute and a half, looking absolutely gassed.
- After close to three minutes sitting in the d-zone, Di Giuseppe (#34) breaks the puck through neutral territory. Rathbone (#3) drives towards Korenar for a shot while PDG hooks the Tucson defenceman’s stick, providing an open shooting lane for Rathbone. Pretty slick.
- Chase Wouters (#21) slips a hit in the neutral zone, chips the puck into the offensive zone, and crashes hard into the endboards. A solid heavy-press shift for Wouters.
- Michael Carcone tests Martin late, sending a nasty pass through traffic that ricochets off Mattias Maccelli, then Sheldon Rempal, and nearly through Matin’s armpit.
- Guillaume Brisebois takes an interference penalty with seven seconds left in the period.
PP1: Wouters, Stevens, Bowey, Stephens
- An early shot attempt sails wide of Martin’s net as time expires.
- Canucks up by one, having outshot the visitors thirteen to eight over twenty minutes! Not bad!
- Canucks start the period with a minute and fifty-seven seconds shorthanded
PK1: Bailey, Stevens, Bowey, Stephens
- Canucks pick off a pass, and Justin Bailey (#95) moves the puck end-to-end for a slapshot off Korenar’s right pad.
PK2: Brubacher, Dries, Di Giuseppe, Rathbone,
- Di Giuseppe generates a shorthanded chance for Abbotsford just before Brisebois’ penalty expires.
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 3-1 Canucks: Wow! WOW! Will Lockwood (#10), tripped while driving towards the slot, hooks the puck back to Sheldon Rempal while prone, and Rempal quickly strikes with a shot under Korenar’s glove side. What a recovery from Lockwood to double the Canucks lead!
- Jarid Lukosevicius (#14) sends Di Giuseppe (#34) into the offensive zone, and PDG draws a holding penalty against Vladislav Kolyachonok.
- I fully expected a penalty shot, given how blatant this was.
PP1: Rathbone, Petan, Rempal, Di Giuseppe, Dries
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 4-1 Canucks: Sheldon Rempal picks up his second goal this period with a filthy powerplay tally off a toe-drag around Cameron Crotty. Tucson hooks Korenar and Ivan Prosvetov slides between the pipes in relief.
- Brandon Cutler takes a roughing penalty during a scrum to send the Canucks to their second penalty kill of the game.
PK1: Dries, Bowey, Brisebois, Di Giuseppe
- Canucks clear immediately off the faceoff; Tucson is forced to reset from behind Prosvetov’s net.
- A shot from Michael Carcone sails wide of the net and caroms out of the zone Canucks swap forwards.
PK2: Bailey, Stevens
- Spencer Martin makes a quick reactionary save off a skate-deflection, and Bailey (#95) races down the ice for a shorthanded no-look scoring chance.
- Cutler leaves the box as the Canucks kill off another Tucson powerplay
- Absolutely baffling decision from the refs here as Guillaume Brisebois defends a Michael Carcone breakaway in the exact same way that Vlad Kolyachonok did against PDG. Except, this time, Carcone draws the penalty shot.
- Spencer Martin gets the pads down to stop Carcone on the penalty shot.
- Jack Rathbone heads to the box for tripping; Canucks to their third PK of the night.
- OOF, Canucks stack along the blueline to defend Tucson’s zone-entry and Guillaume Brisebois takes his third penalty of the period after he flips the puck over the glass; Canucks to a 5-on-3 PK for fifty-one seconds.
PK1: Bowey, Dries, Di Giuseppe
- GOAL – TUCSON – 4-2 Canucks: Seconds after Rathbone leaves the box, Spencer Martin loses his stick, leading to a wraparound goal from Jan Jenik. Bit of a dumb move from Spencer Martin to go for his stick at the side of his net, despite the Canucks not having possession of the puck. Total freebie for Jenik on the wraparound.
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 5-2 Canucks: We love to see it, folks. Jack Rathbone (#3) dusts off a classic with the fake clapper to shake his check at the Tucson blueline before slapping a pass to Petan (#7) on the doorstep. Petan scores his first of the night while Rathbone picks up points number three!
- Bailey (#95) fires a shot into Prosvetov’s glove off an offensive zone faceoff win. Kolyachonok attempts to clear the rebound, and the puck slides up his stick and hits him in the face.
- No clue how Martin saw these two shots from Tucson
- Less than two minutes to go in an action-packed middle frame, and Michael Carcone heads to the box for cross-checking.
- Canucks to their third powerplay of the game!
- Petan sauces a pass to Dries for the one-timer, but Dries shot misses wide and caroms out of the zone.
- Rathbone defends a shorthanded breakaway and manages to not give up a penalty shot!
- Rathbone (#3) races into the neutral zone to fetch his own rebound, is tripped up by a Tucson skater, and the crowd is most displeased with the non-call.
- The horn sounds on an exciting middle frame, with the Canucks outshooting the Roadrunners eighteen to fourteen
- Holy shit, Brandon Cutler is absolutely rocked by a hit from Cedric Lacroix, and Nicolas Guay (#91) immediately drops the gloves to fight for his fallen comrade. Good shit from the USports rookie.
- Chase Wouters draws Michael Carcone into a scrap; Tucson is now down their most productive forward. 5D chess play from Wouters.
- Devante Stephens draws a hooking penalty against Tucson’s Hudson Fasching; Canucks to their fourth powerplay of the game!
PP1: Rempal, Petan, Di Giuseppe, Rathbone, Dries
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 6-2 Canucks: Nic Petan, Sheldon Rempal, and Jack Rathbone play a little tic-tac-toe for another powerplay tally! Rempal picks up his fifth point, Rathbone picks up his fourth, and Petan picks up his third on the play!
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 7-2 Canucks: Guillaume Brisebois casually scores the Pete Forsberg for the Canucks seventh goal of the night.
- Me re-reading the above goal description:
- Adam Brubacher heads to the box for holding, and the Canucks are back on the PK!
- GOAL – TUCSON – 7-3 Canucks: The comeback begins for Tucson! Sheldon Dries (#15) lays down the stick to block a cross-ice pass and accidentally redirects the puck onto Martin. Martin can’t control the rebound, and Hudson Fasching scores to put the Roadrunners back within five!
- Oh my god, another penalty. This time Boko Imama heads to the box for charging. Canucks back to the powerplay!
PP2: Bailey, Brisebois, Klimovich, Bowey, Stevens
- LOL, Trent Cull throws out PP2 to give PP1 a bit of a break!
- Danila Klimovich (#46) has a wide-open opportunity to make it eight for Abbotsford, and he breaks his stick on the tap-in! He throws his arms up in disbelief, lmao.
PP1: Rempal, Petan, Di Giuseppe, Rathbone, Dries
- GOAL – ABBOTSFORD – 8-3 Canucks: Sheldon Dries (#15) picks up his second of the night. Nic Petan with point number four, and Rathbone with point number five!
- GOAL – TUCSON – 8-4 Canucks: Adam Brubacher (#2) loses an edge, Danila Klimovich (#46) loses Travis Barron, and the Roadrunners are back within four with less than seven minutes to go.
- Justin Bailey heads to the box for roughing, and the Roadrunners earn a late powerplay.
- GOAL – TUCSON – 8-5 Canucks: oof, Spencer lets in a softie. Tucson back within three off an unscreened wrister from the point. Yikes.
- After a scrum ensues in neutral territory, Chase Wouters draws a roughing minor against Ben McCartney.
- More scrums as the buzzer sounds; Prosvetov skates to center ice, but sadly we do not get a goalie fight 🙁
- GG close – Abbotsford, probably
Abbotsford Canucks def. Tucson Roadrunners 8-5
Good night to give up 5 when your boys are putting up 8 lol
— Rutherford's First Trade (@Jhammy51) February 8, 2022
- A badly needed win from the Abbotsford Canucks. That felt way closer than it should’ve been due to some pretty rough goaltending. Martin was okay on some shots, but some of those goals-against were ugly.
Asked Rathbone about Abbotsford's impressive shot contributions from the defence tonight, then asked him if he'd be attempting the Forsberg anytime in the near future
He laughed then talked about how great it was to see Brisebois score such a beauty in his 1st game back #Canucks
— Cody Severtson (@CodySevertson) February 8, 2022
- That Brisebois goal lives in my head rent-free. His Forsberg goal is only his second goal since the 2019-20 season! His last goal didn’t even happen in a Canucks affiliated jersey! It came while on loan with the Laval Rocket during the taxi-squad year! How insane is that? Kid comes off IR and does that in his first game back? Unreal. Good for him!
- In the post-game media availability, I asked Jack Rathbone about the defensive contributions tonight—defencemen contributed seven shots, two goals, and four assists—yes, they were essentially all of Jacks, but whatever! I asked him, “having seen Brisebois’ beauty, whether he’d be attempting the Forsberg anytime in the near future?” Jack laughed, would not confirm, but expanded on his happiness in seeing Brisebois return after a long stint on IR and score such a beauty in his first game back.
Jack Rathbone confirms that he has had a five-point game before.
When he was in Peewee.
— 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 Faber 🔥🎙 (@ChrisFaber39) February 8, 2022
- Speaking of sequences living rent-free in someone’s head! Let’s talk about Danila Klimovich’s unlucky night! Klimovich played mostly with Brandon Cutler and Nicolas Guay at 5v5, recording three shots on goal, while Guay and Cutler combined for one. Despite having the fourth-most individual shot attempts, he is currently rocking one of the lowest individual shooting percentages on the team @ 5.9%. He’s been spectacularly unlucky. That broken stick on the wide-open tap-in will haunt him tonight. Hopefully, he channels that frustration in Wednesday’s game when the Canucks run it back one last time against the Roadrunners this season.
- I MEAN THE FUCKING PETER. FORSBERG!? FROM GUILLAUME BRISEBOIS!?
- I don’t remember if Jim Benning likened Brisebois’ play to Peter Forsberg, but it would be pretty funny now if he did.
- Tonight’s eight-goal victory dethroned the team’s 7-1 victory over the San Jose Barracuda as the highest-scoring game in Abbotsford Canucks history. FUN!
- Sheldon Rempal closed out the post-game media availability acknowledging the team’s poor positioning in the standings and the work ahead of the team to improve their placement down the stretch. It’s almost like he knew what my preamble was about!
Cody’s Three Stars
- Jack Rathbone
- Sheldon Rempal
- Nic Petan
Next up on the docket
The Canucks close their season series against the Roadrunners this Wednesday at 7 PM!
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