Abbotsford Canucks drop three-game set to Calgary

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The largest crowd in Abbotsford Canucks franchise history went home disappointed after the Calgary Wranglers held on to a 5-3 victory and a three-game road winning streak against the Canucks on Saturday (21 January).

A sell-out crowd of 7,081 filled the Abbotsford Centre, the first full house in franchise history.

Calgary’s Ben Jones put the night away early, scoring just 43 seconds into the first half. The Canucks answered when Linus Karlsson scored his 12th goal of the season at 6:52 on the power play. Abbotsford has the advantage 14-8 shooting after one.

The Wranglers took over in the second half, scoring goals from Mitch McLain and Connor Zary (power play). Vasily Podkolzin added a goal at 18:05 to make it a one goal game. Abbotsford had a 13-11 lead in the second shot.

But the crowd screamed in the second as defender Alex Kannok Leipert noticed Adam Klapka hit the 6-7, 235-pound captain and teammate Chase Wouters and decided to challenge him to a fight. Kannok Leipert was more than able to assert himself in the duel and received the biggest applause for his efforts during the evening.

In the third quarter, the Wranglers scored a goal by Cole Schwindt at 12:50 and then an empty net goal by Brent Sutter at 18:13. Danila Klimovich scored a late power play goal.

Another scary incident occurred near the end of the third period when defenseman Dennis Gilbert Karlsson scored what appeared to be a header. Karlsson was put on the ice and immediately went to the dressing room. His status is still unknown. Kannok Leipert answered the bell again and fought Gilbert.

Gilbert received a match penalty for a head check, while Kannok Leipert received two fouls – one for instigating a fight in the last five minutes and another for his second fight/third major penalty. Kannok Leipert received a total of 32 penalty minutes. It is possible that both players will be banned.

Phil Di Giuseppe led all players with seven shots on goal and the Canucks outshot Calgary 36-28. Silovs made 21 saves in the loss.

The Canucks have lost six of seven games against Calgary this season, but head coach Jeremy Colliton said the games were closer than the final score suggests.

β€œTo get two points [over these three games] and they’re supposed to get six β€” I’m not sure that’s a representation of how the games were played,” he said.

Calgary won in overtime on Wednesday (January 18) and on penalties on Friday (January 20). Colliton said he didn’t like the first third of Wednesday and the third third of Saturday, but he was happy with his team’s play.

“They are a little more experienced than us,” he said of the Wranglers. “And they were able to take advantage when we went down to the police station and made us pay for it. We’ll probably meet them in the playoffs and I hope we do because it’s good for our group.”

Colliton pointed out that the Wranglers, formerly the Stockton Heat, had a stellar 2021-22 season with much of the team returning that season.

“They understand how to make hockey plays and they have high-end, elite talent,” he said. “And we’re learning – we’re not happy at all with those three games.”

Wouters mentioned that Calgary is a quality team and hopes that the Canucks can take something positive from the three games. He also credited Kannok Leipert for making the call, especially against a much bigger opponent.

“He’s one of my best friends and a great team guy,” he said. β€œIt’s just something he brings to the rink. I can’t say enough good things about the guy.”

Abbotsford’s record falls to 22-12-2-2 after this weekend and they are now in fourth place in the Pacific Division. The Canucks next host the Toronto Marlies on Tuesday (January 24) and Wednesday (January 25).

RELATED: Abbotsford Canucks average attendance up 16 percent so far this season

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Canucks forward Danila Klimovich finds open ice in Saturday’s first period. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)


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