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Abbotsford Canucks begin AHL journey with a loss

Canucks fall 5-3 to the Bakersfield Condors in California, take on Ontario Reign tomorrow
Noah Juulsen and the Abbotsford Canucks lost 5-3 to the Bakersfield Condors to open the AHL season on Saturday (Oct. 16). (Abbotsford Canucks photo)

On a night full of firsts for the new Abbotsford Canucks American Hockey League team, the one lasting first was on the scoreboard as the club recorded its first-ever loss.

Abbotsford fell 5-3 to the Bakersfield Condors, losing grip on the game during a 39-second stretch early into the third period when the Canucks allowed a pair of goals to see a 3-2 lead evaporate.

The flurry of offence came after an excellent second period that saw the Canucks score three goals and seemingly take control of the game.

It was a B.C. native who notched the historical first goal in Abbotsford Canucks history, as Squamish’s Jarid Lukosevicius scored at 2:18 of the second period tying the game at one. Bakersfield’s Adam Cracknell grabbed the Condors the lead back five minutes later, but that was short-lived as 2021 Canucks draft pick Danila Klimovich scored a goal down low 52 seconds later to tie the game back up.

Abbotsford’s Justin Bailey added a late-goal to give the Canucks a 3-2 lead after two.

The first period saw the Canucks play like a team that hadn’t played a single preseason - probably because they hadn’t. The club managed just five shots on goal and were largely bailed out by goalie Michael DiPietro, who had a solid game and gave Abbotsford a chance to win.

Bakersfield’s James Hamblin scored the lone goal in the opening frame and the Condors outshot the Canucks 11-5. Third period goals from the Condors were scored by Cracknell, Yanni Kaldis and Luke Esposito (empty net goal).

Penalty troubles spooked the Canucks a bit, as they were shorthanded five times and only went on the power play twice. They were unsuccessful with the man advantage and allowed one goal down a man.

Lukosevicius and Sheldon Rempal had a multi-point nights for Abbotsford, also collecting points was John Stevens and Devante Stephens. DiPietro made 27 saves in the loss, while Condors goalie Stuart Skinner made 19 saves in a winning performance. Bakersfield’s Seth Griffith added three assists in the win.

Other historical firsts for the Abbotsford Canucks included: Klimovich (first shot), Lukosevicius (first goal), Carson Focht (first penalty), Rempal (first assist) and Will Lockwood (first fight).

Abbotsford did not dress a captain for the game, but players Sheldon Dries, Phil Di Giuseppe and Madison Bower all wore the A.

The Canucks return to action tomorrow (Sunday) when they take on the Ontario Reign. That game is also available for free on AHL TV. Puck drop is set for 5 p.m.

RELATED: First two Abbotsford Canucks games now streaming for free

Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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