Holding the AHL’s leading scorer (Kole Lind) to zero points, the Farm kicked off week two with an impressive stellar comeback victory over the Seattle Kraken affiliate Coachella Valley Firebirds.
Despite pulling a ‘Vancouver Canucks’ and surrendering a one-goal lead, the Farm persevered, down a man, to gut out their second straight win of the season.

Starting Lineup

Game at a Glance

1st period
It wasn’t just the bizarre 3:00 PM start time that played against the Farm on Friday.
Less than six minutes into the game, Vinny Arseneau accidentally took himself out with a missed hit that sent him flying head-first into the boards.
Advertisement
Ad
The early shake-up left the Canucks playing down a man, eleven forwards and six defensemen.
By the end of the first period, Jeremy Colliton’s shortened bench rallied to hold the Firebirds to just five shots on goal.
2nd Period
The ValleyBirds struck first with an even-strength goal from Alexander True, who put the moves on Wyatt Kalynuk before slipping a wrist shot underneath Silovs’ blocker.
Fortunately, for his second game in a row since starting the season as a healthy scratch, Carson Focht found the equalizer with a nifty backhander over Daccord’s glove side.
Though the Firebirds would finish the middle frame with only seven shots on goal, they would score twice. Jesper Froden’s five-hold powerplay tally was one that, as they say, Silovs’ would want back.
Advertisement
Ad
3rd Period
The third period saw the Canucks rally to produce three goals in a row, two via the powerplay.
Will Lockwood had an impressive game, utilizing his speed to single-handedly stifle the Firebirds’ offensive-zone cycling while generating multiple controlled zone entries for Abbotsford on their powerplay opportunities. Though he didn’t finish the game on the scoresheet, Lockwood finished with two shots on goal while playing a considerable amount of ice time at 5v5, shorthanded, and on the man-advantage.
Advertisement
Ad
Though Noah Juulsen and Guillaume Brisebois have spent most of their ice time together hemmed into the d-zone, tonight they managed to make work out of their first bit of sustained offensive zone time. A quick cross-ice pass from Brisebois set Juulsen up for an absolute bomb of a one-timer for the go-ahead goal.
Minutes later, DAWG/60 inspiration Tristen Nielsen scored the game-winning goal with a vicious one-timer blast of his own!
Nielsen’s powerplay tally may set a record for the fastest powerplay goal scored by a Canuck; scoring just two seconds into the powerplay.
After coincidentally roughing minors, the Firebirds pulled Daccord for the extra attacker to give themselves the man-advantage. While Arturs Silovs was sharp all game with his positioning and rebound control, it was Alexander True’s second goal where he showed the slightest bit of wear to his game.
Advertisement
Ad
You can see how much space Silovs takeaway when down in his butterfly. The Firebirds’ Gustav Olofsson fired a shot at the perfect moment: seconds after Silovs postured up to see over his screen. The uncontrolled rebound (Silovs worst rebound of the night by a wide margin) trickled out to True, who quickly swept the loose puck into the net.
It was a lone blemish for Silovs in an otherwise standout performance.
With less than three minutes to play, the Canucks did a marvellous job holding the ValleyBirds inside their d-zone to kill off the clock. After True’s goal, the ValleyBirds could only pull Daccord for the extra attacker with fifty-four seconds left in the game.
It was a gutsy comeback effort for the shorthanded Junior Canucks.

Final scoreboard

Advertisement
Ad

Takeaways

Though this game review was a little light on content (blame the 3:00 PM start time), we thought we’d boil the game down to three main takeaways!

Abby’s key PKers take too many penalties

More often than not, it’s been the Canucks penalty killers who have taken the most infractions.
Of the twenty-three infractions that have put the Canucks on the penalty kill, fourteen have come from infractions taken by penalty killers!
Abbotsford’s penalty kill has been solid, regardless. However, of the five powerplay goals allowed, four have come when one of the Canucks leading penalty killers has been in the box!

Will Lockwood: a one-man disruptive force

Canucks fans will note Lockwood’s scoresheet after three games and be quick to judge. However, the scoreline doesn’t do his gameplay justice.
Tonight, Lockwood was a zone entry disrupting and generating machine.
His play tonight started rather poorly, with an ill-timed knee-on-knee play in the d-zone that put the Canucks’ on the penalty kill.
Advertisement
Ad
However, after this early gaffe, Lockwood began to flex his skating muscles to be a thorn in the Firebird’s side.
As a new feature on the Farm’s second powerplay unit, Lockwood relies on his quick feet and shiftiness for quick setups off of zone entries.
Arguably the fastest forward on the team, Lockwood has never tried to be anything more than he is. He doesn’t pretend to be Justin Bailey with the wheels and the flashy hands. He sticks with what he’s good at, gaining the zone, drawing in attackers, and fighting for position around the net.
Apart from his ability to gain the zone, what stood out tonight was his reads inside the d-zone. On a backcheck during the second period, Lockwood recognizes the open man on the left wing and adds just a few extra steps to disrupt the cross-ice pass.
Advertisement
Ad
It’s a small play that the stat sheet won’t recognize but remains incredibly important to the Canucks’ victory.
Solo efforts off of D-zone draws, like this additional play in the second period, set Lockwood apart from other forward prospects in the Canucks’ system. As the F1, Lockwood is singlehandedly eliminating space, forcing skaters to the outside, and taking away shooting lanes.
Lockwood still needs to find a way to produce consistently at the AHL level to prove he can be anything more than fringe depth. At the very least, it’s certainly nice knowing the Canucks have at least one forward prospect in the system with a semblance of defensive awareness.

Arturs Silovs: wunderkind

Okay, wunderkind might be a bit much.
But Arty Silovs has been full-value for the Abbotsford Canucks through two starts! Fifty saves on fifty-six shots against, two wins, plus a drawn penalty!
Advertisement
Ad
The Canucks scored on the powerplay generated by this sell-job from Silovs, by the way!
Jokes aside, Silovs looked sharp against the Firebirds. Time and time again, the Firebirds threatened Abbotsford with odd-man rushes only to meet Silovs’ patience and excellent positioning.
Silovs wasn’t relied on to make the flashy hero save, just a workman-like performance highlighted by strong positioning, quick shuffles, and a well-timed glove.
Silovs has now shown well enough to secure the crease in Abbotsford.
The question is whether the team will let Mikey DiPietro battle to win it back.

Bonus Takeaway: Arshdeep Bains 5v5 struggles and the pushing through rookie jitters

Of the seven goals allowed by Abbotsford at 5v5, Bains has been on the ice for five of them. The most on the team.
Though the going has been tough, Bains has been undeterred, throwing his body around on the forecheck and blocking shots where he can. Late in the third period, one such block drew raucous applause from his teammates on the bench.
Advertisement
Ad
It was a little victory for a player who has struggled mightily to find his footing in the AHL thus far.

Next on the docket

The Abbotsford Canucks rematch the Firebirds this Sunday at 6:00 PM PDT. Farmies™ post-game coverage to follow!