The Farmies: Klimovich scratched, Woo ejected, and Tolopilo stops 24 in third straight loss

Photo credit:KHL
Dave Hall
4 months ago
The Abbotsford Canucks travelled to Henderson for the second time in their 2023-24 campaign, kickstarting a weekend doubleheader with a Friday night game against the Silver Knights.
While the Canucks haven’t played their best hockey in recent memory, the Silver Knights have faced an even longer stretch of struggles. Heading into Friday’s game, Henderson was sporting a 3-7-0-0 record over their ten previous games. Additionally, Henderson sat 10 points behind Abbotsford in the Pacific Division standings while registering as the lowest-scoring team.
Of course, judging by their effort in Friday’s match, you wouldn’t be able to tell. The Knights handed the Canucks their third consecutive loss and fifth over their last six games.
Let’s take a closer look at how the events unfolded.
Opening lineup
Nikita Tolopilo made his 24th start of the season and ninth over the team’s last 14 games. Jermaine Loewen replaced Danila Klimovich, who was once again a healthy scratch for the match.
1st period
The Canucks got the game started with the first shot, courtesy of Jett Woo, who delivered a no-traffic snapshot on net.
We usually highlight early Canuck shots as a means of foreshadowing the game’s events. In this case, it was because the Canucks’ looks were so hard to come by.
Shortly before the four-minute mark, the Canucks earned the game’s first power play opportunity. Grigori Denisenko was caught wrapping his stick around Tristen Nielsen, sending him into a twirling spin, sending the league’s 31st-ranked power play unit into action.
  • PP1 – Arshdeep Bains, John Stevens, Chase Wouters, Akito Hirose and Jett Woo
  • PP2 – Aatu Raty, Sheldon Dries, Tristen Nielsen, Linus Karlsson and Filip Johansson
The secondary unit gained some traction with a few well-executed passing plays, but neither unit could generate much of an offensive push and zero shots overall.
1-0 Canucks: Abbotsford Goal, Cooper Walker from Marc Gatcomb and Filip Johansson
Of course, just seconds after the power play had expired, the Canucks made a quick transition to draw first blood. Marc Gatcomb threaded a soft pass toward 21-year-old Cooper Walker, who scored his first AHL goal with a wrister over Jiri Patera’s shoulder.
At first glance, you may not have noticed that Ty Glover did his best Mario Lemieux impression on the sequence, allowing the puck to filter through his legs to Walker along the right side. He won’t get an assist but gets an A-plus for style.
At the 11-minute mark, Glover seized the game’s best chance following the opening goal. This time, Glover channelled his inner Tyler Bertuzzi, protecting the puck and powering his way to the net before sliding the puck toward Patera.
Moments later, Aidan McDonough stripped the puck from the defender before turning on the jets for a breakaway. However, he couldn’t push fully through the pressing defence. However, he did draw a call, thanks to the busy stickwork from the Knights’ defender.
Unfortunately, as we have seen far too often this season, the man advantage did not amount to much, and the game would remain a 1-0 lead in favour of the Canucks.
It remained that way until the three-minute mark when the Silver Knights exposed the Canucks lazy defence to equalize.
1-1 Tie: Henderson Goal, Jake Bischoff from Brandoa Brisson and Grigori Denisenko
First, it was Nick Cicek with a lackadaisical poke check at the blue line. Then, Jett Woo was caught focusing on the puck carrier, leaving Jake Bischoff all alone in the slot for his third of the season, tying the game at one.
The equalizer didn’t stop Woo from blowing up the goalscorer, though.
As the shot left Bischoff’s stick, the rugged rearguard stepped up to deliver a bone-crushing hit, sparking a spirited brouhaha between both teams, ending with coincidental penalties and a two-minute four-on-four situation.
Woo received a match penalty and misconduct for a hit to the head, resulting in his ejection, leaving the Canucks down a defender for the remainder of the game. The hit was undeniably electric, and even the Henderson commentators agreed it was a clean hit that went shoulder to chest. Nonetheless, the match penalty call stood.
For the two minutes of four-on-four, Nikita Tolopilo made his best save of the game, stopping a one-timer from Tyler Benson to keep the game tied.
Following the four-on-four, the Silver Knights engaged in three minutes of power play time, where they’d rack up six shots total. Fortunately, Tolopilo continued his strong play from the late first period into the second.
2nd period
First, Tolopilo slid over to make a glove save on Brandan Brisson’s one-timer.
He made four crucial saves within the initial two minutes of the period, successfully killing off the extended power play to cement his MVP status early into the game.
Just minutes after killing off the first penalty, Tristen Nielsen was called for tripping, sending the Canucks to their second penalty kill of the frame.
Fortunately, for his hamstring’s sake, Tolopilo wasn’t as busy during the second PK, facing just a single shot over two minutes.
Just as the penalty expired, John Stevens got his stick in the body of a Silver Knights forward, sending Henderson to a quick five-on-three power play.
Can you guess what happened next?
2-1 Silver Knights: Henderson Goal, Jake Bischoff from Kaedan Korczak and Tyler Benson
Seconds after the 5-on-3 faceoff, the Silver Knights capitalized just as Tristen Nielsen stepped out of the penalty box.
The good news? Since the first penalty expired, the game would mercifully return to even strength.
The bad news? The Canucks were down 2-1 and being dominated in the second frame.
We’ll fast-forward to 3:43 remaining in the second period, where the Canucks went to their third power play of the game. Up to that point, the Canucks had yet to register a shot on net in the period.
You read that right.
In fact, it took them nearly 19 minutes to collect their first shot.
2-2 Tie: Abbotsford Goal, Aidan McDonough from Arshdeep Bains and Chase Wouters
The Canucks failed to generate a shot during their lone power play of the period. Technically*
Just as the man advantage expired, Aidan McDonough uncorked a one-timer, set up by the hard work of Arshdeep Bains, to even the score at two apiece.
It was quality over quantity for the Canucks, as they somehow managed to come out ‘even Steven’ after 20 minutes of suffocating hockey from their opponent.
3rd period
It never resulted in a shot, but Chase Wouters created the best scoring opportunity of the early period, stripping the defender at the blue line before rushing up the ice for a chance.
Despite his efforts to protect the puck and drive towards the net, Jiri Patera disrupted the chance with a well-timed poke check.
It took until the midway point of the third period, but the Canucks finally gained a semblance of momentum—their first since the first period.
They registered four shots on goal in one shift, and although none would be considered grade-A chances, the sustained pressure was a welcomed change from an otherwise lacklustre offensive effort to that point of the game.
3-2 Silver Knights: Henderson Goal, Brandan Brisson unassisted
Despite the strong offensive pressure from the Canucks, it was the Silver Knights who broke the stalemate.
Brandan Brisson picked up the loose puck in the Canucks’ defensive zone and maneuvered inside and then outside before slipping the puck through the pads of Nikita Tolopilo.
Once again, Abbotsford’s defensive effort was questionable. Sloppy stick-checking efforts from Cooper Walker, Glover, Cicek, and Irwin led directly to the goal against.
4-2 Silver Knights: Henderson Goal, Kaeden Korczak uanssissted
With two minutes remaining, Colliton pulled Tolopilo for the extra attacker. Sheldon Dries entered the zone for a late-period push, dropping the puck to Räty, who attempted to shovel it down the line back to Dries. Unfortunately, the puck was intercepted by Kaeden Korczak, who fired the puck 200 feet down the ice into the empty net for his first goal of the year.
With the Canucks’ net still empty, Patera intercepted a dump-in attempt and turned toward the Canucks’ zone for an ambitious attempt to score on the yawning cage.
The crowd rose to their feet for the effort as the Silver Knights settled for the 4-2 victory.
Final score
Henderson Silver Knights defeat the Abbotsford Canucks 4-2.
CanucksArmy three stars
Don’t let the goals against fool you. Nikita Tolopilo was the MVP of this game for both teams. He not only made 24 saves but made several key stops on grade-A chances to keep the game within reach for Abbotsford.
Cooper Walker earns tonight’s second star for scoring the first goal of his AHL career. His lazy stick check on the tiebreaker goal in the third is why we’re not singing his praises too hard. His goal got things going for Abbotsford. Too bad the remaining 40 minutes were so uninspired.
Aidan McDonough earned tonight’s final star for scoring his sixth of the season, grabbing two shots, and producing some of the club’s only decent looks of the game.
Next on the docket
These two teams will rest briefly before facing each other again in an afternoon rematch at 3:00 PM on Saturday.

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