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Abbotsford Canucks pick up crucial back-to-back wins in Calgary

Canucks increase chances of hosting first round of playoffs after pair of wins
Max Sasson and the Abbotsford Canucks picked up two big wins in Calgary on Thursday (April 11) and Friday (April 12). (Abbotsford Canucks photo)

Back-to-back wins in Calgary have visions of home ice in round dancing in the heads of the Abbotsford Canucks.

The club exorcised some of the demons they regularly succumb to in the Alberta city, posting identical 3-1 wins over the Wranglers on Thursday (April 11) and Friday (April 12).

The pair of victories have propelled the Canucks back into the conversation for home ice in round one of the AHL playoffs, as they vaulted into fourth place after collecting the four critical points.

Friday’s game saw Ty Glover open the scoring at 6:40 of the first after a fortunate bounce off of a Wranglers player and that goal stood until 7:36 of the second when Calgary’s Rory Kerins knotted the game up.

The game’s turning point occurred when Canucks defenceman Filip Johansson made a brilliant defensive play to prevent a shorthanded chance for Calgary. He then moved the puck forward and Sheldon Dries found Tristen Nielsen for what would turn out to be the game winner.

Linus Karlsson added an empty net goal for some insurance.

Abbotsford outshot Calgary 33-29 and captain Chase Wouters led all Canucks with four shots on goal. Friday was a bounce-back performance for Canucks goalie Zach Sawchenko, who made 28 saves for his fourth win on the season. Sawchenko was pulled early in his last game on April 7, but made some key saves on Friday to earn the win.

Thursday’s game was a surprisingly similar story to Friday.

After a scoreless first, Dries opened the scoring at 6:22 of the second and Nielsen made it 2-0 with a goal that would also eventually be the game winner. Calgary’s Jordan Oesterle made it a one-goal game with a power play goal at 17:01, but Wouters scored an empty net goal to seal the win.

Abbotsford had an excellent game from Nikita Tolopilo, who made 24 saves for his 19th win on the season. Abbotsford outshot Calgary 35-25 and Arshdeep Bains, Max Sasson and Dries all recorded four shots.

Thursday also marked the AHL debut of defenceman Sawyer Mynio. The Kamloops product has spent the past three seasons with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds and is a Vancouver Canucks third round draft pick from 2023.

The Canucks and Wranglers next head to Abbotsford for the final two games of the season at the Abbotsford Centre on Friday (April 19) and Saturday (April 20).

The games are being promoted as “Fan Appreciation Weekend” and both start at 7 p.m.

Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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