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Abbotsford Canucks drop pair of games to San Jose

Canucks’ special teams struggle over family day long weekend
The Abbotsford Canucks dropped two games to the San Jose Barracuda over the weekend. (Abbotsford Canucks photo)

The long weekend felt extra long for the Abbotsford Canucks after being beat twice on home ice by the San Jose Barracuda.

The Canucks fell 4-3 on Saturday (Feb. 18) and then were shelled 7-2 on Monday (Feb. 20).

A third period collapse spelled doom for Abbotsford on Saturday, as they were up 2-1 early into the final frame but then allowed three consecutive goals to suffer the loss.

The teams traded goals in the first, with Abbotsford’s Wyatt Kalynuk scoring at 10:11 and San Jose’s Andrew Agozzino evening the game up at 17:08. A scoreless second period followed, and the Canucks jumped ahead 2-1 in the third when Nils Höglander scored on the power play at 1:31.

The Barracuda then got two goals in 17 seconds, with William Eklund scoring at 3:03 on the power play and C.J. Suess puttin San Jose up for good at 3:20. Suess scored again at 5:36 to put the game out of reach. Abbotsford’s Danila Klimovich added a goal at 9:41.

The Canucks outshot the Barracuda 39-24 and Spencer Martin recorded the loss. Defenceman Jack Rathbone led all players with seven shots on goal.

Monday’s afternoon game was a disaster early, with San Jose opening up a 4-0 lead at the 12:34 mark of the first period. The Barracuda added two more in the second and one in the third. The Canucks responded with goals from Tristen Nielsen in the second and Kyle Rau in the third.

Martin allowed seven goals on 34 shots in the loss. His early numbers in the AHL are not great, as he has a record of 1-3, a goals against average of 4.09 and a save percentage of .875. Abbotsford did hold the 39-34 shots edge in the game and were led by Höglander who fired six on goal.

“We didn’t do what needed to be done to get a result,” Canucks head coach Jeremy Colliton said after the game. “Disappointed with the response and I expected us to be a lot better.”

An emerging story has been the play of forward Aatu Räty. The key piece in the Bo Horvat trade has just one assist in eight games for Abbotsford. He said it’s been a challenging transition from the New York Islanders organization to the Canucks.

“Not great, I’ve been playing horrible,” he said, when asked about his play. “I hope it gets better, I’m trying my best every game and trying to work hard.”

Another concern for the Canucks is the team’s penalty killing. They allowed four goals over the two games against San Jose and for the season are at 77.4 per cent. That puts them as the worst in the 10-team Pacific Division and tied for 25th in the AHL.

Despite the pair of losses, the Canucks remain in third place in the Pacific with a record of 29-18-2-2. The team now hits the road for a pair of games against the Colorado Eagles on Friday (Feb. 24) and Saturday (Feb. 25).

The next home game is set for March 7 when the Manitoba Moose come to Abbotsford.

Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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