Previewing the Abbotsford Canucks’ road trip to Palm Springs and Räty-palooza in Tucson
2 months ago
Oops, I did it again.
I [made an overly optimistic prediction].
Abbotsford lost both games.
Oh, baby, baby.
Yeah, let’s dive right into the review of this past weekend’s performances because they were bad, folks!
Week 9 predictions reviewDespite the Firebirds’ plethora of reinforcements, I still like Abbotsford’s chances much better in this rematch series than in their first match of the season. I still think Coachella Valley will be a tough out, but I predict the Abbotsford Canucks to win once in regulation while losing another in extra time.
Narrator: they did not win once in regulation or lose in overtime.
Max Sasson has missed the last four games due to a concussion sustained during practice.
Jett Woo joined him on IR after taking a bump in Friday’s game against Coachella.
Game 22 @ Coachella Valley Firebirds
For the glass-half-full readers, it was a banner weekend for Tristen Nielsen, who picked up a goal and two assists.
For the glass-half-empty readers, it was a disastrous weekend for Tristen Nielsen, who was on the ice for a team-high five goals against at 5-on-5. It was an equally disastrous weekend for Christian Wolanin, who was on the ice for a single goal for, and six of the eight goals against that Coachella scored over two games.
The club’s two losses made it three straight L’s for Abbotsford against their Pacific Division rival—a bad omen ahead of their Wednesday night rematch.
Abbotsford’s Friday night performance wasn’t all bad. Some spotty refereeing saw the team’s 10th-ranked penalty kill put to the test often, with the club taking eight minor penalties, giving Coachella 14 minutes of power play time. Abbotsford’s PK played magnificently. They allowed a single power-play goal, and it came during an extensive two-man advantage for the Firebirds. Four of the Canucks penalties came during the third period, stifling any potential comeback effort.
The Saturday performance was downright bad. Only Nikita Tolopilo and Aatu Räty get a pass for the Saturday game.
Including a second period that saw the Canucks outshot 18 to 1, Tolopilo kept a woefully outmatched Canucks squad within arm’s reach through much of the contest. Tolopilo stood tall during an extensive two-man advantage of his own, en route to making 31 saves on 35 shots.
Räty had, perhaps, his best performance since joining the Abbotsford Canucks last season, picking up two points while adding PP1 and PK reps to his workload. The Canucks have not conceded a goal with Räty on the ice since their 7-2 victory against the Calgary Wranglers back on November 26th. He’s been good! The positive results have resulted in palpable confidence and swagger in his playstyle. Both of the goals he assisted on tied the game for Abbotsford. The club couldn’t make much happen after Räty’s equalizers, but that’s on him, too, for not being able to find that next goal.
It was a particularly brutal weekend for Arshdeep Bains, who didn’t figure on the scoresheet and wound up on the ice for five of the eight goals against and none for.
Tristen Nielsen found himself on the ice for six of Coachella’s eight goals but was a factor on three of Abbotfsord’s four goals scored.
Abbotsford’s head-to-head record against Coachella Valley now sits at a dismal 0-3-0-0. They’ve been crushed at even strength through three games, outscored 12-6 and outshot 81 to 52.
Though Coachella sits below Abbotsford in the standings, they’ve left no doubt that they are the better team.
Game 23 & 24 @ Tucson Roadrunners
The Canucks’ journey through the desert takes them to Arizona, where they take on Division rival Tucson, who sit one spot above them, third in the Pacific.
Fortunately, despite their place in the standings, the Roadrunners are much closer in true talent to the Canucks than the Canucks are to the Firebirds.
You think Abbotsford’s power play is bad? The Roadrunners have yet to eclipse double-digit power-play goals, and they are 31st in the AHL with a power-play clicking at just 11%!
Weirdly enough, Abbotsford and Tucson’s PK sit neck-and-neck, 10th and 11th-best in the AHL! Both teams are similar in that they are conceding more shots per game than they are generating. Tucson’s Matt Villalta has carried the load between the pipes, starting 18 of the club’s 22 games thus far. He’s yet to record a shutout but has rocked a .921 save percentage and a 2.42 goals-against average.
The only takeaway of importance regarding the Tucson/Abbotsford matchup is Räty-palooza when Aatu takes on his brother Aku for the first time on North American ice!
The two last played against each other in the Finnish Liiga, where Aatu’s Jukurit defeated Aku’s Karpat 2-1 during the 2021-22 regular season. Over three games, Aatu picked up three assists to his older brother’s measly two.
Aatu has the edge in AHL scoring this season, with 5 goals and 15 assists through 21 games, while Aku has 2 goals and 8 assists through 16 games.
Week 10 Predictions
They’re going to get crushed by Coachella one more time before beating Tucson twice.
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