Photo Credit Doug Westcott
Locally the Abbotsford Canucks forced a game four against the Calgary Wranglers with the game played in front of a sell-out crowd in what was a must win game for the Canucks.
The winning team would advance to the Division final on the road to the 2022-23 Calder Cup Playoff run.
Some were speculating that Abby would start Arturs Silovs but given the strong start two nights prior it was no real surprise that it was once again Spencer Martin between the pipes which makes this his first time with consecutive starts since early March.
Calgary again went with Dustin Wolf who played solid in the previous game that saw him stop 27 of 30 he faced making this his fourth start of the series where he stopped 27 of 30 shorts he faced.
Despite the fact that the NHL Canucks were unable to advance this season you know that this group of players are clearly on the radar for upcoming seasons.
It wasn’t just the Canucks brass that was on hand but rather various other retired players and office staff who were there to promote the parent team with aspirations of selling season tickets for both teams for the upcoming season.
To the delight of the fans it was the hometown team that got off to an early jump with Rathbone sending one off the crossbar that saw Höglander jump on the loose puck at 2:18 sending one past Wolf giving Abby the early lead.
This was his third goal of the playoffs and his first of the playoff series and if conversation with some fans indicate anything he could be around for a while in a Canucks uniform.
The Wranglers pressed knowing that they wanted to pull out a win and not head into a game five situation in a hostile arena.
Playing aggressive saw them continue to throw pressure toward Martin that saw him faced to make some remarkable stops while killing penalties.
Given the pressure it was a matter of time that the Wranglers would score and it was Kitchener’s Cole Schwindt who got the tying goal past Martin at 12:51 on the PP with helpers to Zary and Poirier.
The first ended with Abbotsford outshooting the Wranglers by a 12-8 margin that saw more pressure from the home side who were in need of a win.
The second saw fast, entertaining aggressive play with only one goal in the middle period that saw Abby take a 2-1 lead at 15:33 that saw Tristen Nielsen get the crowd hopping.
The Canucks continued to pepper Wolf in the second that saw them narrowly outshot the Wranglers 7-6 and 19-14 through two periods.
Entering the third and trailing by one you sense the urgency for the Wranglers to even the score at two that followed a fast face-off in the Canucks zone to the right of Martin.
One might say that prior to the goal there seemed to be a sense of confusion that took a while to like the players up for the draw that caught the Canucks off guard for the draw.
Following a win off the draw the puck went directly to Ilya Solvyov who peppered one on target beating Spencer Martin at 11:31 that would set up an exciting finish.
Try as they might, it was the Wranglers who picked up a loose puck in front of Martin at 12:41 who sent a slow rolling puck through a group of players giving the Wranglers their first lead of the game.
Abby continued to throw pressure at Wolf who played strong considering that Abby was looking for the tying goal, but it was Adam Klapka who managed to get the winning goal finishing off any hopes of advancing.
The Wranglers finished the season for the Canucks that saw Wolf stop 23 of 25 shots while Spencer Martin turned aside 21 of the 24 he faced..
The win see’s Calgary advance to the Pacific Division Final that will see them face Coachella Valley Firebirds.
For only a second season for the Abbotsford Canuck a season with more highs than lows saw them set their sights on next season and beyond.
On behalf of the Sportswave crew we thank media relations for all their assistance for the past season and we look forward to seeing you in Abby this fall.
1st Dustin Wolf (Calgary)
2nd Adam Klapka (Calgary)
3rd Tristen Nielsen (Abbotsford)
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About Steve Erickson