Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
The Farmies: Arturs Silovs records third shutout of the season in 6-0 win against the Ontario Reign
1 month ago
Alright, which one of you asked Santa for two hockey team wagons for Christmas?
While the Vancouver Canucks cemented their place as first in the NHL by points, the Abbotsford Canucks were routing a Pacific Division rival to secure their spot in a tie with the Calgary Wranglers for first place in the Pacific Division on Thursday night.
The vibes were too good to keep you waiting!
Let’s get into Thursday night’s action and see how the Canucks were wagon-ing in the NHL and AHL!
Why fix what ain’t broken, am I right? After the club’s 5-2 victory on Wednesday night, Jeremy Colliton ran it back with the same lineup, with Silovs playing starter instead of Nikita Tolopilo.
The Reign’s head coach, Marco Sturm, changed his lineup slightly, swapping defenceman Tyler Inamoto for Max Martin. Interestingly, Sturm elected to play rookie netminder Erik Portillo in both legs of the back-to-back games, an extremely risky bet considering Portillo had just faced 42 shots 24 hours prior, and one that would prove to be the Reigns’ downfall.
Unlike Wednesday’s fast, frenetic, free-flowing start, the Thursday night rematch didn’t see much flow to it. A lot of whistles and broken plays due to awkward deflections on goal and a net that refused to stay in its pegs.
The most that can be said about the opening five minutes was that PBP broadcaster Brandon Astle let us know that Max Sasson listens to every post-game broadcast because he envisions a career in broadcasting for himself after hockey!
At one point, a superset of accidental deflections nearly gave way to the game’s first goal. A pass from Ty Glover kicked off Aidan McDonough’s skate into the slot, where Matt Irwin’s one-timer deflected off John Stevens’ skate narrowly wide of Portillo’s right post.
We also learned from Astle that Portillo is the type of goaltender to approach the stats tracker between whistles to let them know they have the shot clock wrong!
Around the midway point of the period, Chase Wouters drew the first penalty of the evening after tripping up Wyatt Wyllie along the Reign’s d-zone half-wall during a board battle.
With Wouters in the box, Colliton rolled out a starting PK duo of John Stevens and Sheldon Dries. After losing the faceoff, Stevens and Dries connected on a shorthanded rush chance.
For the ensuing faceoff draw, Colliton rolled out a duo of Aatu Räty and Arshdeep Bains.
Silovs was sharp, deflecting a point-blank shot from Samuel Fagemo off his blocker and out of play.
One minute after Wouters’ penalty expired, the Canucks scored their first of many, with Arshdeep Bains cashing in on a fantastic pass from Quinn Schmiemann at the side of the net to make it 1-zip for Abbotsford.
Abbotsford Goal: 1-0 Canucks Bains from Schmiemann and McWard
The goal sequence began with a great hold at the blue line by Cole McWard. Ontario’s Brandt Clarke found himself stuck on the ice for a prolonged shift following the Reign’s power play, opening the door for the fresh legs of Abbotsford to pounce on misplayed pucks in the Reign’s zone.
A crisp pass from below the goal line to McWard and a d-to-d pass later, and the Canucks entered cruise control against their Pacific Division rival.
The first period was pretty chippy after the Canucks goal. Sheldon Dries took issue with an uncalled boarding against McWard by Hayden Hodgson.
Moments later, Tristen Nielsen took out Francesco Pinelli while on the forecheck, but took an interference minor in the process.
Colliton was not pleased.
Fortunately, Jett Woo got his arm up on Akil Thomas, drawing a holding penalty against the forward to negate the Reign’s power play opportunity.
Through the opening 20 minutes, the Canucks outshot the Reign 15 to 8 while killing two penalties. Not bad! But the best was yet to come!
The second period was a nonstop cavalcade of offence for the Abbotsford Canucks.
As news of the big club’s jump into first place in the NHL filtered throughout the arena, the Farm team fed off the energy, recording four-straight goals to chase Erik Portillo before scoring an insurance marker against reliever Jacob Ingham.
Räty nearly made it 2-zip in the opening two minutes after a picture-perfect setup from Linus Karlsson behind the Reign’s goal line.
On the ensuing faceoff, Nick Cicek picked up his first goal as a Canuck, with a blast from the point through traffic to make it 2-nothing.
Abbotsford Goal: 2-0 Canucks Cicek from Räty and Wouters
Right off a faceoff win by Wouters, Räty swept the puck to Cicek at the blue line for the shot past Portillo. As of 10pm the AHL still has credit to Wouters and Marc Gatcomb, but Räty was clearly the primary apple on Cicek’s goal.
A minute and change later, Cole McWard hammered a puck into the shins of a Reign defender, and Nielsen pounced on the loose puck, undressing Portillo for a gorgeous goal to make it 3-nothing Abbotsford.
Abbotsford Goal: 3-0 Canucks Nielsen from McWard and Dries
Nielsen doesn’t know how to score boring goals. All seven of his goals this season have been absolutely nasty.
The style-points didn’t stop with Nielsen either. Near the midway point of the period, the Canucks’ power play went to work, where Linus Karlsson made it 4-zip, going top shelf with a filthy forehand-backhand deke on Portillo.
Abbotsford Goal: 4-0 Canucks Karlsson from Bains and Wolanin
Two minutes later, John Stevens scored to make it 5-nothing for Ontario, drawing an end to Portillo’s night between the pipes.
Abbotsford Goal: 5-0 Canucks Stevens from Schmiemann
It was the Canucks’ least stylish goal of the night, with Schmiemann rifling the puck toward the net, bouncing off Stevens as he crashed hard into Portillo’s crease.
Three minutes later, the Canucks capitalized on an identical play, with Nielsen going cross-ice from the left wall to Sheldon Dries for a redirect off the forward’s right leg and past Jacob Ingham’s left pad.
Abbotsford Goal: 6-0 Canucks Dries from Nielsen and McWard
The first four goals of the period didn’t do much to galvanize the Reign into doing right by their netminder, but the fifth? That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
The Reign outshot the Canucks 9 to 1 over the final 10 minutes of the middle frame while drawing a penalty against Schmiemann for holding. But, they finished the period outshot 18 to 13 and down on the scoreboard 6-nothing.
The third period was much closer on the shot clock, but the Canucks did well to hold their advantage and preserve Silovs’ shutout. The Canucks spent the majority of the period stretching the ice, playing pucks deep, and forcing the Reign to start offensive plays from behind the goal line repeatedly.
The Canucks didn’t completely turtle or play an offence-averse brand of hockey. They generated 8 shots on goal to Ontario’s 13 but were clearly playing conservative hockey meant to secure Silovs’ third shutout of the year.
They had a six-goal lead and were heading into a 7-day holiday break with a three-game win streak in the bag.
Near the midway point, Podkolzin had the opportunity to make it 7-zip for Abbotsford but didn’t have enough steam to capitalize on a poorly controlled rebound. Of course, it was Nielsen sparking the chance, going between his legs to stutter Reign defenceman Charles Hudon long enough to create space for his shot.
Wanting to feel like a true Canuck, Cicek threw the puck over the glass while attempting a zone clearance that gave the Reign a power play opportunity.
For the late PK, Colliton went with a shortened bench, using Stevens/Wouters and Dries/Bains for the first 1:45, then a duo of Gatcomb/Räty for the final 15 seconds.
Again, the coach was in “protect the shutout” mode for Arty.
Seconds after Cicek’s penalty expired, Jacob Doty took a roughing minor that gave Abbotsford their third power play of the game. They didn’t score, but they moved the puck well, looking infinitely more dynamic and dangerous than they have in the weeks leading to this series against the Reign.
One minute after Doty’s penalty expired, Stevens got caught with his stick in the face of Francesco Pinelli while chasing him around the d-zone, giving Ontario a late power play try. Dries and Gatcomb both generated chances shorthanded and then Räty picked off a pass in the neutral zone midway through the Reign’s power play that resulted in 30 seconds of time-wasting for Abbotsford.
In the dying minutes of the game, Stevens got into a scrum with Akil Thomas outside of Silovs’ crease.
Besides the few penalties, it was a solid period of shutdown hockey from the Farm.
Abbotsford Canucks defeat the Ontario Reign 6-0
CanucksArmy’s Three Stars
Thursday night’s first star belongs to Cole McWard, who finished the game with three assists, a plus-4 rating, and a shot on goal while playing big minutes at 5-on-5 and the penalty kill. After a rather underwhelming start to his AHL campaign, McWard has more points in his last four games than he had in his first 17.
The second star belongs to Arturs Silovs for his third shutout of the year. Though he wasn’t tested much by the Reign, he nonetheless made 34 saves on 34 shots. Silovs is now one shutout away from matching his shutout total from last season in nearly a third of the games played. Not too shabby!
The third star belongs to Tristen Nielsen, who was his usual wrecking ball self on the forecheck, but who finished with a goal and an assist along with 4 shots on net.
Next up on the Docket
The Abbotsford Canucks get a nice seven-day break between games, returning December 28th, where they kick off a five-game road trip that begins in Calgary, journeys through Bakersfield and ends in Palm Springs.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
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