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Abbotsford Canucks edge San Jose Barracuda 3-2

Abbotsford power play scores two goals to earn win on Vancouver Canucks Night

After a jinxed January, the Abbotsford Canucks power play finally broke through at home and connected twice in a 3-2 win over the San Jose Barracuda on Saturday (Feb. 3).

The Canucks fell behind 2-0 midway through the second, but Linus Karlsson unloaded a cannon during a long two-man advantage to get Abbotsford on the board. Just over five minutes later, Canucks defenceman Nick Cicek scored against his former team to tie the game.

The power play struck again just before the end of the second period when Max Sasson blasted a one-timer past San Jose goalie Georgi Romanov at 19:48. The tic tac toe play saw Aatu Räty and Karlsson draw the helpers.

Canucks goalie Nikita Tolopilo shut the door in the third period and no offence was recorded in the third. Tolopilo made 24 saves for his 10th win on the season and he has quietly put together an effective season in the back-up role for Abbotsford. The Belarus product has a save percentage of .904 and he has a goals against average of 2.88 in 16 games.

Sasson continues to have a productive offensive season as a rookie and he now has 13 goals. That ranks him tied for fifth in the AHL in goals by a rookie. Five of those goals are game winners, which ranks him second amongst all rookies and first amongst all players in Abbotsford.

Karlsson now ranks second on the Canucks in points with 27 in 30 games.

Cicek stated after the game that it was a satisfying after a 2-1 loss to San Jose on Friday (Feb. 2).

“It’s great to see the boys bounce back from a tough loss last night,” he said. “We didn’t really like how we played last night, so we were excited that we battled through the adversity and get a big win.”

He admitted it was nice to pot a goal against his former teammates.

“It’ll be nice to rub it in a little bit for sure,” he said, with a grin.

Cicek also said it was nice to see the power play finally get going because players have been trying to work out the kinks in practice.

“I know the guys are working on it everyday,” he said. “We’re trying new things, Ulms [assistant coach Jeff Ulmer] is drawing up new stuff and obviously it clicked tonight so that’s all we can really ask for.”

Cicek was dealt to Abbotsford on Dec. 15 and said one bonus is that he’s now closer to his brother Michael Cicek, who plays for the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL He stated that the Canucks were in San Diego when his younger brother and the Rockets were in Langley, but that he continues rooting for him from afar. He hopes to catch a Rockets game if it works out later this year.

Saturday was also Vancouver Canucks Night at the Abbotsford Centre, with Canucks alumni Dave Babych, Jyrki Lumme, Kirk McLean and Darcy Rota on-hand. There was a special pre-game ceremony celebrating the quarter and they also signed autographs for fans during the intermissions.

The 3-2 win comes off a 2-1 loss on Friday to San Jose.

The Canucks trailed 2-0 after the first period and couldn’t muster any offence until Marc Gatcomb scored at 16:00 of the third. Abbotsford made a late push, but couldn’t beat Romanov again.

Arturs Silovs made 22 saves in the loss and Danila Klimovich led all Canucks with six shots on goal.

The Canucks sit in fourth place in the Pacific Division after the weekend with a record of 23-14-3-2.

Abbotsford’s Arhdeep Bains now heads to San Jose to represent the Canucks at the All-Star on Sunday (Feb. 4) and Monday (Feb. 5).

The club next hits the road and takes on the Colorado Eagles on Friday (Feb. 9) and Saturday (Feb. 10). The next home game is on Feb. 17 when the Calgary Wranglers come to Abbotsford.

Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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