In a game that could determine playoff home ice, the Abbotsford Canucks got an otherworldly performance from goalie Michael DiPietro and timely goals to earn a massive 3-1 over the Bakersfield Condors on Saturday (April 16).
DiPietro made 37 saves and put in likely his best performance of the season at a time when the Canucks needed it most.
After some struggles early this season and being outshined by Spencer Martin, DiPietro has won his last three starts and his record is now over .500 for the first time as an Abbotsford Canuck.
Huge save by DiPietro to keep it a 2-1 game early in the third pic.twitter.com/3svbY8GAua— Ben Lypka (@BenLypka) April 17, 2022
The Canucks themselves are scorching hot and have won six straight.
The Condors were arguably the better team for most of the game, outshooting the Canucks 38-20 and opening the scoring at 4:57 when Yanni Kaldis fooled DiPietro on a screened shot. But two early chances, including a shorthanded breakaway by Luke Esposito, were stymied by DiPietro.
The Canucks managed to tie the game at 18:06 when Sheldon Rempal dialed a long distance pass to Justin Bailey who put his 11th goal past Condors goalie Stuart Skinner.
Abbotsford got lucky in the second period when Brandon Cutler pushed the puck forward and it bounced around the Condors defenders and gave him some room to work. Matt Alfaro jumped on the free puck after his shot and made it 2-1 at 16:20 of the second period.
Fortuitous bounce for Cutler and leads to an Alfaro goal. Klimovich gets the second assist. Canucks up 2-1 late in second pic.twitter.com/Vi4ajxAPeK— Ben Lypka (@BenLypka) April 17, 2022
Chase Wouters added an empty net goal at 18:52 of the third to seal the deal. Rempal had a two-point night and led all Canucks with four shots on goal.
The win was a big win for the Canucks, who entered the game tied with the Condors for fourth in the American Hockey League’s Pacific Division. The win puts them two points up on Bakersfield and they actually leapfrogged the Colorado Eagles to move to third in the division. However, after the Eagles win over Tucson, Abbotsford returned to fourth.
That placement is important because the second, third and fourth place teams receive home ice advantage in round one of the AHL’s best-of-three playoff series (first place gets a bye).
Abbotsford’s record now sits at 36-21-5-1 and the team will remain in California to take on the San Diego Gulls on Wednesday (April 20).