Michael DiPietro made 33 saves to help the Abbotsford Canucks post a big win over the Bakersfield Condors on Saturday (March 19). (Abbotsford Canucks photo)

Michael DiPietro made 33 saves to help the Abbotsford Canucks post a big win over the Bakersfield Condors on Saturday (March 19). (Abbotsford Canucks photo)

Red hot Abbotsford Canucks win two in California

Abbotsford leapfrogs Bakersfield to move into fourth in the Pacific Division

The red hot Abbotsford Canucks continued blazing in California over the weekend, picking up two more wins and making it five straight games (4-0-1-0) picking up at least a point.

The run has also enabled the Canucks to leapfrog over the Bakersfield Condors in the American Hockey League’s Pacific Division standings. Abbotsford now sits in fourth place in the division, which would mean home ice advantage in round one of the playoffs.

The Canucks got on the right track on the club’s road trip on Saturday (March 19) with a 3-1 win over the aforementioned Condors.

Brandon Cutler opened the scoring at 18:55 of the first period with a power play goal. That goal was the first Cutler has scored in the AHL. Rookie Danila Klimovich scored his seventh at 16:36 of the second period and John Stevens made it 3-0 with a shorthanded goal at 1:44 of the third.

Bakersfield’s Adam Cracknell spoiled the shutout bid of Canucks goalie Michael DiPietro with a goal at 7:41 of the third.

DiPietro made 33 saves in the win, which was his ninth on the season. Abbotsford was outshot 34-20 in the game and Stevens led all Canucks with five shots on goal. Chase Wouters was the lone player to record a multi-point game with two assists.

The team then travelled south to Ontario to battle the Reign and a second and third period push saw the Canucks earn a 4-2 win.

Abbotsford’s Jarid Lukosevicius opened the scoring at 5:51 of the first, but Ontario’s Vladimir Tkachev scored a pair of goals in the first to put the Reign up 2-1 after 20 minutes.

The second period was all Abbotsford, with Yushiroh Hirano connecting on the power play at 3:26 and Madison Bowey adding a goal at 16:08 to put the Canucks up 3-2. Will Lockwood contributed with an empty net goal for a little insurance in the game’s dying moments.

The Canucks out shot Ontario 32-25 and Spencer Martin collected his 15th win on the season. Carson Focht and Sheldon Dries led all players with four shots apiece.

Abbotsford’s record improved to 29-19-4-1 with the pair of wins and the team is 7-2-1-0 in the last 10 games. They sit in fourth in the Pacific, but are now within striking distance of the third place Colorado Eagles.

The Canucks remain in California for games against the San Jose Barracuda on Thursday (March 24) and the Stockton Heat on Friday (March 25).

The next home game for the club occurs on March 29 when the Toronto Marlies visit the Abbotsford Centre.

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