Sheldon Dries recorded the first hat trick in Abbotsford Canucks on Wednesday (Dec. 1). Dries now has 12 goals in 16 games this season. (Abbotsford Canucks photo)

Sheldon Dries recorded the first hat trick in Abbotsford Canucks on Wednesday (Dec. 1). Dries now has 12 goals in 16 games this season. (Abbotsford Canucks photo)

Abbotsford Canucks win three of four on home stand

American Hockey League club battling for positioning in tough Pacific Division

After over two weeks without a game on home ice, the Abbotsford Canucks returned to the Abbotsford Centre last week and impressed by winning three of four.

The Canucks opened the home stand by sweeping the Ontario Reign, dispatching of the Los Angeles Kings affiliate 3-2 on Tuesday (Nov. 30) and 5-4 on Wednesday (Dec. 1).

Abbotsford got goals from Nic Petan, Phil Di Giuseppe and Sheldon Rempal on Tuesday and Michael DiPietro made 21 saves for the win.

Wednesday’s game saw the Canucks and Reign trade leads all night, but Sheldon Dries became the first Abbotsford player to score a hat track and to hit double digits in goals with the game winner in the third period. The Canucks also got goals from Rempal and Tristan Nielsen. Petan and Jack Rathbone both added two assists.

Spencer Martin made 25 saves to earn his first win this season. The Canucks were also active offensively, firing 40 shots at the Ontario goalie.

The only setback for Abbotsford on the home stand occurred on Saturday (Dec. 4) when the San Jose Barracuda spoiled Teddy Bear Toss night with a 6-4 win.

Despite the loss, the Canucks power play was red hot on Saturday and scored on three of four opportunities. The third period was where things fell apart for Abbotsford, as they entered the final frame up 4-3 but allowed three unanswered goals.

The Canucks got goals from Will Lockwood, Di Giuseppe, Petan and Rathbone. A goalie change seemed to work for San Jose, as they pulled starter Alexei Melnichuk early in the second period after allowing four goals and Zachary Sawchenko came on in relief and was perfect.

Michael Dipietro made 26 saves in a losing cause.

The two teams clashed again on Sunday (Dec. 5) and this time it was Abbotsford catching fire in the third and exploding for three consecutive goals to earn the 5-2 win.

Petan, Jarid Lukosevicius, Dries (two) and Abbotsford’s Noah Juulsen contributed with goals. Dries now leads all Canucks with 12 goals in 16 games. Martin picked up his second win on the season and made 23 saves.

The four games put the Canucks record at 7-7-2-1 and they are in a logjam with four other teams for fifth place in the ultra-competitive Pacific Division.

The team now hits the road for almost the rest of the month. They have games in San Jose on Saturday (Dec. 11) and Sunday (Dec. 12), head to San Diego to take on the Gulls on Dec. 15, and then travel to Nevada to battle the Henderson Silver Knights on Dec. 18 and 19.

The only remaining home games this month occur on Dec. 22 and 23 when the Canucks host the Tucson Roadrunners. The club then closes off 2021 with games on Dec. 30 and 31 in Winnipeg against the Manitoba Moose.

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