Photo credit:James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
The Farmies: Arturs Silovs allows five goals in ugly shutout loss to the Tucson Roadrunners
2 months ago
Mere hours after a trade that shook Canucks Nation to its very foundation, the Abbotsford Canucks were back at it for their 23rd game of the season, taking on Pacific Division rival Tucson.
This time, without the services of forward Jack Studnicka.
On top of losing Jack Studnicka Abbotsford was without the services of forward Sheldon Dries, who was suspended for a game following his deliberate intent to injure penalty on Wednesday night against Coachella Valley’s Connor Carrick.
The lack of forward options meant Ty Glover drawing into the top six. Glover returned to the lineup after having missed Abbotsford’s last nine games while on loan to the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL.
The trade and lineup shuffle was a bad omen for things to come, as the Abbotsford Canucks looked woefully outmatched for 60 straight minutes.
It was a bad one, folks!
Too bad, too, because Friday night was supposed to be the North American debut of Rätypalooza: a pre-Christmas battle between brothers Aatu and Aku as they fought for the love and affection of their parents ahead of the holiday break!
Alas, whether it was the bounces, the lineup, the fatigue, or the travel, the Abbotsford Canucks had one of those nights.
Let’s get into the game and see what happened.
For the opening faceoff, both coaches sent out their respective Räty.
Younger brother Aatu won the opening faceoff against older brother Aku.
The game was pretty slow to start, with neither team establishing much in the way of possession.
Then, while trying to get a handle on a bouncing puck at the offensive zone blue line, Tucson’s Nathan Smith drew a tripping penalty against Matt Irwin to give the Roadrunners an early power play and the Canucks’ penalty killers an early sense of deja vu dread.
Victor Soderstrom managed a shot on Silovs from the point. Otherwise, the Canucks penalty killers held the Roadrunners to the perimeter while clearing rebounds out of the zone at will.
Upon the reset at 5-on-5, the Canucks fourth line got their first taste of action, with Alex Kannok Leipert firing a one-timer off Matthew Villalta’s right pad and out to Jermaine Loewen, who could not get around his check for the follow-up chance.
Approaching the period’s midway point, Tristen Nielsen waltzed down the right wing for a cross-ice setup to Linus Karlsson on the left. Unfortunately, Nielsen’s pass was tipped by a backchecking defenceman at the last minute, denying the Canucks a scoring chance.
Nathan Smith and Jan Jenik responded in kind for Tucson’s best chance of the period to that point, with a two-on-one rush and wraparound attempt that forced Silovs into making a heroic diving save.
With eight minutes left in the opening frame, Aku Räty won back the favour of his parents, when he rifled a shot over Silovs’ right pad.
Tucson Goal: 1-0 Roadrunners
The goal came off a brutal change from Abbotsford. After breaking the puck into the neutral zone, despite not having possession, three skaters subbed off, forcing Matt Irwin to defend a 3-on-1 down the right wing all by himself while Jermaine Loewen coasted on the backcheck through the slot.
It was an atrocious goal against that set the tone for the remaining 50 minutes.
Aku and Aatu’s parents flew into Tucson for the weekend’s games. After Friday’s result, we’re pretty confident that Aku secured himself the better Christmas present with his performance over his brothers.
Aatu tried to wrestle back his family’s love with a chip-and-chase zone entry, only to see him bodied to the ice by Tucson’s Patrik Koch.
With time winding down on the period, defenceman Michael Joyaux took a tripping minor while battling along the boards, sending Tucson to their second straight power play.
Brother Aku recorded Tucson’s only shot on net. Again, from the outside.
Otherwise, it was another uneventful power play for Tucson and a successful kill for Abbotsford.
Vasily Podkolzin, who had a quiet 4-shot game against Coachella on Wednesday night, picked up his most noticeable shift of the night after the Roadrunners’ power play, driving toward the net with Nielsen.
It wasn’t that impressive of a drive on goal, admittedly. But I was stretching for things to note about the team’s play during the opening 20 minutes. It was boring.
Abbotsford outshot the Roadrunners 6 to 5 but finished the period down 1-zip on the scoreboard.
Jett Woo drew a high-sticking penalty against Curtis Douglas, securing a power play for Abbotsford to start the second period. But it was a very disappointing start for the Farm.
The club’s disappointing start didn’t stop at the conclusion of the first, either.
During the opening minute of the second period, Linus Karlsson gave away the puck, attempting a drop pass to the blue line for Christian Wolanin. Tucson’s Ryan Leonard pounced on it to lead a two-on-one into the Canucks’ zone. For the third time in two starts, Silovs was beaten clean while facing square to the shooter.
Tucson Goal: 2-0 Roadrunners
Then, 53 seconds later, Josh Doan dispossessed Jett Woo inside the Roadrunners’ d-zone before racing end-to-end to score Tucson’s second shorthanded goal of the period.
Tucson Goal: 3-0 Roadrunners
It was not a great start for Arturs Silovs, who looked shakier than ever before. He was making an uncharacteristically high volume of desperation saves, steering rebounds right to the opposition’s tape, and coughing up pucks repeatedly while generally looking off in his save selection.
Midway through the period, a point shot from Montana Onyebuchi squeaked through Silovs’ pads, allowing Jan Jenik to tap the trickling puck over the goal line.
Tucson Goal: 4-0 Roadrunners
Again, a very uncharacteristically chaotic evening for Silovs. He looked like he had no idea where the puck was going all night.
One minute after Jenik’s goal, Aidan McDonough executed a flatfooted poke-check on Tucson’s Nathan Smith, giving way to a brilliant tic-tac-toe goal for the Roadrunners’ Ryan McGregor, set up by Dylan Guenther.
Tucson Goal: 5-0 Roadrunners
The poke check makes sense. Go wide left with the stick to deny Smith the pass down the boards. Unfortunately, the coaching staff will only see how he barely moves his feet to initiate the challenge. Miss that challenge, but you charged Smith like your life depended on it? You get a pass! Wade toward the puck-possessor at the blue line and miss the challenge? You get benched!
Fortunately for McDonough, the team lacked forward depth in such a bad way that Colliton couldn’t afford to park him on the bench.
The Canucks got a power play opportunity with six minutes left in the period. But Arshdeep Bains took a needless tripping penalty 35 seconds onto the man advantage, negating the badly-needed power play opportunity.
Upon the return to 5-on-5, the Canucks continued to get throttled by the Roadrunners in the d-zone. Losing the bulk of the battles and races onto loose pucks. The one shining moment of the Farm’s came with Aatu Räty and John Stevens racing into the offensive zone on a two-on-one. Upon gaining separation, Stevens sent a pass into Räty’s skates, ending Abbotsford’s lone dangerous look of the period.
Abbotsford finished the period having been outscored 4-zip and outshot 15 to 4.
Mercifully, the Canucks came out with some jump in their step for the final period. Unfortunately, the increased physicality and presence in the offensive zone did not yield much in the way of high-danger scoring chances.
They tried their best!
It just wasn’t good enough!
Off an offensive zone faceoff win, Christian Wolanin dropped below the left hashmark for a sharp-angle shot attempt on Villalta.
Jett Woo had a couple of shots land on Villalta from the point.
Nielsen redirected a point shot from Wolanin on net.
Cole McWard, who returned to the lineup after missing the last three games with an injury, played in heavily prescribed minutes. McWard rotated in on a pairing with Irwin for most of his evening. Irwin has played everywhere for Colliton during this latest run of games. Irwin has played with rookie Michael Joyaux on his left side, on his off side with Wolanin, and back on his regular side with McWard.
Back to McWard.
After a very quiet first two periods back in action, in which he did not feature on the ice for any of the five goals scored by Tucson, he had his first moment of notice in the third when he gave the puck away to Curtis Douglas with a misplaced breakout pass.
The missed pass was one thing, but Douglas’s ensuing undressing of McWard was another. After stepping down the right wing, Douglas pulled the puck to his backhand, passing the puck to himself through McWard’s legs for a drive on Silovs.
It was nasty.
A penalty by Jan Jenik gave the Canucks their third power play opportunity of the night. The most that could be said about it is that they didn’t give up two shorthanded goals.
That’s how low the bar was in this one!
With 1:35 left in the game, the Canucks were dinged for too many men on the ice, and that was the ballgame.
The only noteworthy moment saw Jan Jenik given an absurd amount of time by Cole McWard to set up and attempt a through-the-legs shot from point-blank range on Silovs.
Tucson Roadrunners defeat the Abbotsford Canucks 5-zip.
CanucksArmy’s Three Stars
Actually, hang on. If you watched this game instead of doing stuff with friends or family, then YOU deserve the game’s first star because this was a pathetic performance from the AHL club.
Next up on the Docket
Sadly, the Canucks run it back against the Roadrunners tomorrow night. Hopefully, Rätypalooza will be a bit more exciting next time!
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