The Farmies: Chase Wouters scores two and Tristen Nielsen calls game in weekend sweep of the Laval Rocket
By Dave Hall2 months ago
The Abbotsford Canucks welcomed back the Laval Rocket for the second leg of their back-to-back series.
It was Teddy Bear Toss night at the Abbotsford Center, meaning the first goal from the home team sent an eruption of teddies onto the ice, causing a huge—but awesome—game delay.
The Canucks were coming off a strong 4-2 victory on Friday night, off the backs of a tremendous line featuring Arshdeep Bains, Vasily Podkolzin and John Stevens. The three combined for six points, with Stevens notching his first multi-goal game since the 2021-22 campaign. Once again, Artūrs Silovs was solid, stopping 30 of 32 shots en route to his seventh win over his last eight starts.
The Saturday night matchup was the battle of the backups, with Nikita Tolopilo and Jakub Dobeš backstopping for their respective clubs.
Tolopilo has enjoyed a bounce back as of late, reverting to his early season form with wins in each of his previous two starts heading into Saturday night’s action.
As for the skaters, the Canucks ran with the same rotation as they had Friday, except for Danila Klimovich, who left Friday’s game after just one period of play with an apparent injury.
Let’s see how Teddy Bear Toss night played out and see who opened up the teddy bear floodgates!
Buckle up, folks; you’re about to go on a ride.
The game couldn’t have started much better for the Abbotsford Canucks.
Just 14 seconds into the opening frame, Vasily Podkolzin drew a high-sticking penalty while nearly scoring the first goal in the process. Although he didn’t convert, he drew a four-minute double-minor, creating an early buzz for the team with a lengthy power play opportunity.
Podkolzin’s play began with a strong stick from Arshdeep Bains, as he broke up a breakout pass to send Podkolzin on goal for a scoring chance. The sequence was an excellent pre-cursor to how Bains would play over the following 20 minutes.
Abbotsford’s season-long power play woes continued despite the club’s double-minor in their favour, with Laval’s Nathan Légaré scoring shorthanded less than one minute onto the Canucks’ power play.
GOAL – 1-0 Laval: Nathan Légaré from Brandon Gignac (SH)
Not so fast, though!
GOAL – 1-1 Tie: Chase Wouters from Arshdeep Bains and Christian Wolanin (PP)
The game took a wild turn when Arshdeep Bains set up Chase Wouters for a heavy one-timer to tie the game seconds after conceding Légaré’s shorthanded tally.
Wouters is a go-to faceoff man for Jeremy Colliton but doesn’t feature often on the power play. That it was the captain who brought on the teddy bears was perfection.
GOAL – 2-1 Canucks: Chase Wouters (2) from Jermaine Loewen and Jett Woo
Two minutes later, Wouters jammed in the rebound off of a Jett Woo point shot to score his second of the game and fourth of the year.
It’s always encouraging to see the fourth line contribute to the scoresheet, let alone the captain pulling the home team ahead by a goal after such a shaky start.
GOAL – 3-1 Canucks: John Stevens from Arshdeep Bains (2) and Vasily Podkolzin
Roughly 20 seconds later, Bains made a skillful play, chipping the puck past the defence one-handed before driving to the net along the goal line. Bains dished a little pump fake outside the crease that drew the goaltender into sitting tight along his left post. After bringing the puck up to the top of the crease for a shot, John Stevens crashed the bet to clean up the rebound and give Abbotsford a two-goal lead.
This was Stevens’ third goal in two games and yet another point from this red-hot trio.
Points on Abbotsford’s three-goal run gave Wouters, Bains, and Stevens 10 points total against the Rocket this weekend.
The goal chased Jakub Dobeš, as Stevens’ tally made it three goals on just seven shots.
Enter Strauss Mann.
The chaotic opening 10 minutes saw the Canucks outshooting their opponents 10-3 by the midway commercial break.
GOAL 3-2 Abbotsford: Emil Heineman from Brady Keeper and Nicolas Beaudin
The pace slowed until later in the period when Laval’s Emil Heineman scored on a jam play in front of the net to cut Abbotsford’s lead in half.
Brady Keeper, who scored his first goal of the season the night before, was the one to shoot the puck here, giving him just his third point of the season.
It’s always the ex-Canucks…
GOAL 3-3 Tie: Xavier Simoneau from Emil Heineman and Brandon Gignac (PP)
Just to keep the madness going, Aatu Räty took an interference penalty in the dying minutes of the opening frame, leading to an equalizer from Laval’s Xavier Simoneau.
By the period’s end, the game had seen 19 shots, six goals, three power plays, and approximately 7,000 Teddy bears thrown onto the ice.
It was a lot!
The second frame sang a much —and I mean much—different tune, with both teams struggling to generate much of anything throughout its entirety.
The most noteworthy play came within the first five minutes at the hands of a friendly fire incident where Jack Studnicka took a puck high off a Jett Woo clearing attempt, after which he immediately headed straight down the tunnel.
Fortunately, he returned not long after.
Otherwise, the action remained subdued until the 14-minute mark, when Jermaine Loewen dropped the gloves in a spirited fight with Riley McKay.
The fourth-liner did his best to rev up the crowd!
With the fight, Loewen found himself just a goal away from completing the coveted Gordie Howe Hat Trick.
Despite the dose of energy from the fight, the remainder of the period would continue its sleepy brand, which was especially the case for the Canucks.
Laval outshot the Canucks by a 13-4 margin and held the majority of the period’s pressure.
Although, the majority of those attempts offered little in terms of high-danger opportunities.
The third period began with a quick power play for the home team, which failed to generate any scoring opportunities in line with the season’s trend.
Over the first ten minutes, the final frame resembled the second period, with little action at either end.
Midway through the period, however, the Canucks put together some good puck movement, giving Vasily Podkolzin his best opportunity of the game.
GOAL- 4-3 Abbotsford: Tristen Nielsen from Jack Studnicka and Sheldon Dries
With the game tied at three apiece, Tristen Nielsen put on his cape and decided it was time to call the game.
Jack Studnicka sent the bulldog on a rush, where he showcased a slick toe drag around William Trudeau before finishing off the sequence with a cheeky backhand to pick up his fifth of the year.
“Just gonna squeeze by ya there.”
Laval began to press, doing all they could to snap their six-game losing streak.
With just under two minutes remaining, Tolopilo made his largest save of the night, sliding over to rob the Laval shooter of the equalizer.
Alright, the shooter did not get everything on it, but you still have to hand it to Tolipilo, who bounced back with 24 straight saves after allowing three goals on seven shots in the first frame.
Despite a short 6-on-5 push, the Rocket were unable to solve the Canucks, which led to them closing out the game and sweeping the weekend series.
The Canucks now boast eight wins over their last nine games and secured their fifth straight win at home.
Nikita Tolipilo stopped 28 of 31 shots, picking up his third consecutive win in the effort.
Unfortunately, the injury bug continued to bite the Canucks, as they lost both Jett Woo (undisclosed) and Akito Hirose in the final frame.
The revolving door continues to turn, and the minute bodies begin to return, new ones seem to go out.
4-3 Abbotsford Canucks
CanucksArmy’s Three Stars
The third star of the night belongs to the bulldog, Tristen Nielsen. With the game closing in on crunch time, he displayed unreal poise to make a highlight-reel move at such a crucial moment to win the game. This goal will likely go down as the highlight of the week and stands out as one of the most flashy goals of his young AHL career thus far.
The second star goes to Arshdeep Bains, earning his second consecutive star nomination. Returning from injury, Bains showcased his dynamic skill set all weekend and did not seem to lose a step in his game, grabbing two assists Saturday and four points total over the weekend. He has officially become the first Abbotsford Canuck to hit the 20-point mark this season and is truly emerging as a shining star on this team.
Finally, tonight’s first star is awarded to Chase Wouters, who ignited the team with the first two goals of the night. Playing on the fourth line, he may not have contributed all night, but he played a pivotal role in kickstarting the comeback with the second multi-goal game of his AHL career.
Next up on the Docket
The Canucks will enjoy another week-long break before hosting the Coachella Valley Firebirds next Friday, kicking off a three-game series.
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