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Abbotsford Canucks, Tucson Roadrunners rivalry explodes in 4-0 win for Canucks

“Celebrating the Sedins” night featured a large amount of rough play, teams meet again Saturday
Abbotsford’s Vincent Arseneau squares up with Tucson’s Bokondji Imama during the first period of Friday’s (Feb. 10) game. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

The distance from Abbotsford to Tucson is about 2,631 kilometres.

By car it’s about a 26 hour drive. In fact, Tucson is the furthest team from Abbotsford in the Pacific Division.

Despite all those obstacles, the Canucks and Roadrunners seem to have developed a deep hatred for each other and those feelings boiled over in a wild, fight-filled game inside the Abbotsford Centre on Friday (Feb. 10).

On a night billed as “Celebrating the Sedins”, fans got more fisticuffs than Sedinery and the Canucks had an impressive 4-0 win.

The violence started near the end of the first period when Abbotsford’s Vincent Arseneau and Tucson’s Bokondji Imama dropped the gloves at centre ice. The tilt saw both men land a number of shots to a roaring crowd. Arseneau ended the fight with a takedown and the players went to their respective corner, er, penalty boxes.

But the first period wasn’t all physical play. Friday marked the home debut for newly acquired forward Aatu Räty had a pair of glorious opportunities early yet was unable to score. Räty was dangerous the entire game and had a team-high six shots.

The Canucks outshot Tucson 12-7 in the first period and had more quality chances, but Roadrunners goalie Ivan Prosvetov had a solid first period. He also drew the ire of the crowd when he drew a penalty after falling when Arseneau glided through his crease. A replay of the penalty shown to the crowd showed Prosvetov stick his leg out and then appear to fall on purpose.

As a result, Prosvetov was booed for the remainder of the game anytime he touched the puck. More on him later.

The Canucks offence exploded in the second period, with defenceman Noah Juulsen opening the scoring at 4:38. Quinn Schmiemann then scored his first professional goal at 8:34 after an excellent set-up by Nils Höglander. A few more fuses were lit when captain Chase Wouters dropped the gloves with Vladislav Kolyachonok after the latter hit Arshdeep Bains. The Tucson player decided not to fight. Both players were given unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

Matt Alfaro then tipped an Arseneau shot from the point that erupted the crowd at 13:49. Tristen Neilsen added a power play goal at 16:16 to make it 4-0 after 40 minutes. Abbotsford dominated the second period and outshot Tucson 20-7.

The third period is when the game went off the rails a bit. Both penalty boxes were filled for the majority of the third and it was highlighted by a large scrum that broke off into several different tussles.

A scrum in front of the net led to Wouters dropping the gloves with Tucson’s Nathan Smith behind the net. On the other side of the rink Schmiemann and Travis Barron got into it and Tucson goalie Prosvetov also got involved to the jeers of the crowd. Prosvetov received a 10-minute misconduct and was removed from the game, skating off the ice after the scrum was broken up. Tyler Parks played the last 3:20 for the Roadrunners.

Wouters, Schmiemann, Smith and Barron all received fighting majors and because the penalties occurred in the final five minutes of the game they all receive an automatic game misconduct. Tucson was assessed with a total of 59 penalty minutes on the game, while Abbotsford was hit with 41.

Juulsen and Christian Wolanin both had two point nights. Nielsen’s goal was his 10th on the season and the Canucks now have eight players who have scored 10 or more goals.

Despite all the chaos, Canucks head coach Jeremy Colliton said he liked his team’s game.

“I liked our pace and we played at the tempo of our game,” he said. “We advanced the puck really well and our forecheck and our pressure on the puck didn’t allow them to [advance the puck].”

Colliton said he also appreciated his team’s response to some of the physicality that Tucson brought.

“We want to play hard – no question,” he said. “So that’s important and you learn from those experiences. Learn how to handle it because there’s probably going to be more of the same tomorrow. “

He also praised the play of goalie Arturs Silovs, who made 21 saves to earn his third shutout this season. Silovs shut down the Roadrunners in the first period when they were at their most dangerous and was steady the rest of the game.

The fourth line of Arsneau-Alfaro-Gatcomb was also a key factor in the win. They produced a goal and were a physical presence. Colliton said it was a great game from that line.

“They had some very good forechecking shifts and they got rewarded,” he said. “Forechecking, puck protection, getting pucks to the net – they were very effective today.”

Daniel and Henrik Sedin were honoured by the organization prior to the game and addressed the crowd. The brothers are active helping out the development of young players in Abbotsford and thanked the fans for their support.

The Canucks and Roadrunners renew their rivalry Saturday (Feb. 11) at 7 p.m.

Arseneau and Imama grapple. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Arseneau and Imama let the fists fly. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Newly acquired Aatu Räty had a team-high six shots on Friday. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Friday was “Celebrating the Sedins” night at the Abbotsford Centre. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Friday was “Celebrating the Sedins” night at the Abbotsford Centre. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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