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The Farmies: Abbotsford Canucks suffer 3-1 loss in Colorado

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Dave Hall
11 days ago
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In Vancouver, head coach Rick Tocchet continues to preach the team’s “staples” on a nightly basis. Well, unfortunately for the Abbotsford Canucks, their staple has become dropping game one of their two-game doubleheaders.
For the seventh consecutive week, the Canucks suffered defeat in their opening game, this week, falling to the Colorado Eagles. The Eagles, who had won eight of their last ten games, have now tied the Canucks with 51 points to sit in fourth place among the Pacific Division.
The club’s opening games have become increasingly frustrating, as they are not only failing to deliver wins but also continue to come out flat-footed and downright pathetic efforts.
Let’s dive into the details of the match to see how it unfolded.
Opening lineup
Christian Wolanin and Akito Hirose remain out of the lineup long-term, while Filip Johansson was held out for the second consecutive weekend after taking a hit in Bakersfield.
Aside from Arturs Silovs getting the nod, the only change to the lineup this week was the absence of Tristen Nielsen (undisclosed).
1st period
The game wasted no time delivering the heat, as Keaton Middleton and Jermaine Loewen, two heavyweights, decided to set the tone early with a spirited tussle just 18 seconds into the opening frame.
Who says fighting is a lost art form?
We should take this opportunity to mention that the atmosphere was electric in Colorado, with the sold-out barn rocking on a Friday evening.
Although the fight didn’t lead to any goals or high-danger scoring chances, the Canucks capitalized on the energy boost. They generated sustained pressure and managed to register the first couple of shots of the game.
Aidan McDonough seized the game’s best chance early on, driving wide and unleashing a shot off the rush.
While it was calmly turned aside by recently claimed Ivan Prosvetov, it was a promising drive by McDonough, who has struggled to generate such looks throughout his inaugural AHL season.
Shortly after, the game’s first penalty was called against the Canucks just before the 12-minute mark, as Nick Cicek got his stick between the legs to send the league their best penalty kill to work early.
PK1 – John Stevens, Chase Wouters, Matt Irwin and Jett Woo.
PK2 – Arhsdeep Bains, Aatu Räty, Schmiemann and Cole McWard.
Fortunately, the Canucks’ stayed true to form, keeping the Eagles’ power play at bay, not only keeping them off of the scoresheet but allowing no shots on net.
Silovs faced his first significant action shortly after the penalty kill, making a save on the initial shot and denying the rebound quickly.
After minutes of back-and-forth play in the neutral zone, the Canucks’ reunited trio of Räty, Sasson, and Karlsson went to work, rekindling the magic they enjoyed back in November to connect on a good chance.
Following a strong cycle, Karlsson took advantage of some space, finding Sasson in the slot.
As mentioned, this line had enjoyed a strong month-long string of success back in November. However, with Karlsson being a journeyman NHL call-up option, the line has seen little time together over the last couple of months.
Both teams ended the period with nine shots apiece, but neither could find a way past the opposing netminder.
2nd period
It was a slow and sloppy start to the second frame, but it didn’t take long for the Eagles to capitalize on some sloppy defensive coverage in the slot.
Goal – Colorado – Chris Wagner from Brad Hunt and Corey Schueneman
Chris Wagner found himself uncontested at the netfront before banging home the rebound to open the game’s scoring.
The Canucks, who showed decent energy in the first period, reverted to their typical “first game of the week” form and displayed a very poor and lacklustre second period–they did not register their first shot until just after the six-minute mark.
A quick cluster of shots represented the only real opportunity on the offensive for the Canucks in the initial 10 minutes.
Their best chance of the game came off a rebound, where Prosvetov did his best Dominik Hasek flop impression, sliding over to whip out the glove.
Despite no goals, they were offered some hope when the Eagles took a penalty at the 7:25 mark of the frame, sending the league’s worst power play to work for the first time in the match.
PP1 – Linus Karlsson, Aatu Räty, Max Sasson, Vasily Podkolzin and Jett Woo
The unit looked good through the first few seconds of the power play, thanks to some strong movement from the first unit. After going back and forth, Karlsson found Woo with some cheeky sauce, before Woo found the crossbar all alone in the slot.
This unit ate up the entire two minutes, offering good movement and a full stretch of sustained pressure. Unfortunately, despite some shots that whistled high, it never amounted to anything high-danger-worthy.
Killing any gained momentum, Nick Cicek was sent to the sin bin for the second time in the game, taking an unnecessary high-sticking call in the slot.
With no real threat formulating, this is one of those stick infractions that simply drive coaches nuts – unnecessary.
He gave the referees the old “what did I do” argument, but as you could expect, his arguments were futile.
Goal – Colorado – Tanner Kero from Cedric Pare
Of course, the Eagles capitalized quickly, via a centering pass that deflected off a Canuck to catch Silovs off guard. Deflection or not, this is likely a goal that the Latvian netminder would like back, as he was caught deep in his net and scrambling.
Aside from the small cluster of shots midway through the frame, the Canucks delivered a flat period and found themselves down a pair after 40 minutes.
3rd period
The third period began with the crowd fully engaged, the cowbell ringing loudly.
Goal – Abbotsford – Chase Wouters from Marc Gatcomb and Quinn Schmiemann
Chase Wouters quickly silenced them, though, as he broke through the defence on a mission, snapping the puck to the top corner to collect his seventh goal of the season with authority.
Suddenly, after a gloomy second period, the Canucks cut the lead in half and appeared to have an extra pep in their step to start the final frame.
Moments later, the Eagles caught McDonough up high with a stick, leading to a four-minute double minor penalty to continue that built momentum.
This was the moment. Surely the Canucks would capitalize on the built momentum and tie the game on the power play?!
Well, with PP1 out to start, the initial outlook did not look good, as they conceded the best opportunity for a shorthanded chance against.
PP2 – Chase Woutes, Danila Klimovich, Arshdeep Bains, Aidan McDonough and Cole McWard.
Unfortunately, PP2 looked no better, and it was the Eagles who grabbed both of the power play’s best opportunities, which included two breakaways and a shot off the crossbar…
The Canucks collected a few shots within the four minutes, but none that would represent anything noteworthy.
Naturally, after failing to capitalize, it was their turn to take the momentum-killing infraction, as they took a double minor high-stick of their own just a moment later.
They were able to shut down the Eagles’ offensive push, relatively unscathed, to keep the game tight in the final stretch of the third period.
Immediately after, the special teams tilt-a-whirl continued, as the Canucks were gifted another power play to attempt to evening this game in the late stages.
Unsuccessfully, of course.
It’s beginning to get to the point where power plays have become a negative, seeming to take away from their momentum gained at even-strength, rather than adding to it.
Despite carrying two worthy units, their ability to cash in with the man advantage continues to provide one of the larger mysteries among the AHL.
Goal – Colorado – Spencer Smallman from Cedric Pare and Callahan Burke
And of course, their lack of success led to a late insurance for the Eagles, as Schmiemann was walked by a strong drive from Spencer Smallman–who looked anything but small–to put his team up 3-1 in the final minutes of the game.
The Canucks pulled the netminder, but as we’ve established, their success with the man up is incredibly slim this year, and this game would finish with the 3-1 final.
Head Coach Jeremy Colliton touched on his teams poor performances last week.
“We have typically responded [in game two]. If you go back to the [six-game] homestand, it was a game like this, and then one professional game.”
Let’s hope they can come up with a professional effort in Saturday’s rematch.
Final score
Colorado Eagles defeat the Abbotsford Canucks 3-1
CanucksArmy three stars
There were not many bright spots in this game, but Arturs Silovs deserves some credit. Despite allowing three goals, he made 30 saves on the night.
Our second star goes to the goalscorer and captain, Chase Wouters, who, in addition to his goal, collected a few of the team’s stronger opportunities.
Finally, our third star goes out to Jermaine Loewen, who did his best to light a fire under this lineup early with a quick fight. While it did not end up working out in the end, it was the right idea considering the team’s lacklustre start to their doubleheaders.
Next on the docket
These two teams will face off for game two of their weekend doubleheader on Saturday, with puck drop slated for 6:00 PM Pacific Time.
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