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Reunited Rässon line leads Abbotsford Canucks to 5-1 win over Colorado

Prospects Joanthan Lekkerimaki and Elias Pettersson suit up for first time in AHL
Abbotsford Canucks defenceman Nick Cicek goes after an Eagles player Matthew Steinburg after he hit rookie Jonathan Lekkerimaki on Saturday (March 30). (Colorado Eagles photo)

The reunited line of Linus Karlsson, Max Sasson and Aatu Räty combined for seven points and helped the Abbotsford Canucks post an impressive 5-1 win over the Colorado Eagles on Saturday (March 30).

Saturday’s win comes on the heels of a 2-1 overtime win over the Eagles on Friday (March 29) to give the Canucks an all-important sweep over a division rival with the playoffs set to begin in late-April.

Sasson opened the scoring just 93 seconds into Saturday’s game, after Karlsson dug the puck out of the corner and set up his line mate in front of the net.

That goal stood until 5:31 of the second when Tanner Kero scored a shorthanded goal.

The third period was all Abbotsford, as Räty put the Canucks up for good at 4:17 following a feed from Sasson. Karlsson made it 3-1 with a power play goal at 13:34 after a dish from Räty. Karlsson and Matt Irwin added late empty net goals to close the game.

The weekend was significant for Canucks fans, as it marked the AHL debuts of prospects Jonathan Lekkerimaki and Elias Pettersson. Lekkerimaki suited up for the first time on Friday, while Pettersson began his AHL career on Saturday.

The big defenceman didn’t waste a lot of time making an impact, as he crushed Eagles forward Jason Polin with a big hit on Saturday. He also jumped to the defence of Lekkerimaki after he was hit hard into the bench by an Eagles player. Pettersson was a physical presence throughout the game and collected four penalty minutes.

Lekkerimaki was a bit quieter on Saturday, but was initially credited with his first assist in Friday’s win. However that assist was then taken away upon review. The 2022 first round draft pick played on the power play in both games and has recorded one shot on goal.

Saturday was also a big win for Canucks goalie Zach Sawchenko, who made 23 saves for the win. Sawchenko has received more opportunities to play after Arturs Silovs was sent to Vancouver following Thatcher Demko’s injury. The former San Jose Sharks goalie has won both of his starts this season and is rocking a .937 save percentage and a 1.67 goals against average.

Abbotsford was outshot in the game 24-16 and Karlsson led the team with three shots. Karlsson now leads Abbotsford in scoring and has 51 points in 52 games.

Friday’s game was another low-event game, with the Canucks generating just 15 shots in a 2-1 overtime win. Colorado’s Ondrej Pavel scored a shorthanded goal at 12:02 of the first, but Sasson replied at 1:53 of the second.

The teams remained tied after 60 minutes and Jett Woo won the game in overtime.

Canucks goalie Nikita Tolopilo was outstanding and made 25 saves for his 17th win on the season. Abbotsford’s penalty killing was also a big story over the two games, as the club killed all 10 times they were shorthanded.

The pair of wins are huge for the Canucks as they continue to jockey for playoff positioning in the Pacific Division. Abbotsford’s record is now 34-24-4-2 and the club is now just three points out of fourth place and home ice in round one.

Abbotsford returns home for games against the Manitoba Moose on Tuesday (April 2) and Wednesday (April 3). They then welcome the first place Coachella Valley Firebirds for games on Saturday (April 6) and Sunday (April 7).

Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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