The celebration is going to stretch from Abbotsford to Latvia after the Abbotsford Canucks 3-0 shutout win over the Henderson Silver Knights on Sunday (Oct. 24).
Not only was it the first shutout in Abby Canucks history, it was also Latvian native Arturs Silovs first as a professional and his first at any level since 2019-20 when he was a member of the Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts.
Goaltending has been an early strength of the Canucks, with both Silovs and DiPietro putting in quality minutes. Silovs, a 2019 sixth round pick by Vancouver, has looked sharp in two appearances in the American Hockey League. He has a perfect 2-0 record and has allowed just two goals in those wins. His save percentage sits at a sparkling .968.
Abbotsford head coach Trent Cull has been pleased with what he’s seen from his young goalie.
“He’s a big guy and it’s great how he fights through traffic to find pucks,” he said. “I didn’t know much about him or seen him much [before this season] and the two games he’s played he has really impressed me.”
Special teams was a big story offensively for the Canucks, as a previously sputtering power play caught fire on Sunday. Nic Petan and Sheldon Dries both connected with the man advantage, and the creativity and movement down low was improved.
Both power play goals came in the second period after a scoreless opening frame. Abbotsford went two for four on the night and also played a more disciplined game overall. They were only shorthanded twice and killed both opportunities. Petan added an empty net goal at 19:06.
The line of Chase Wouters, Vincent Arseneau and debuting Ethan Keppen was buzzing all night long, especially in the third period. They set the tone with a strong forecheck and were creating a lot of chaos on the ice with their physicality. Wouters said he liked the line and felt they played their role effectively in the win.
“I thought we were good on the forecheck and we’re a physical line - that’s something we can bring to the team,” he said. “We’ve just got to build off of the good things we did tonight.”
Wouters, who was a captain and former star player with the Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades, said he’s adjusting to this new level of play.
“It’s men out there instead of kids,” he said. “Everything happens a little bit quicker out here.”
He added that as a team they are satisfied with their opening weekend, collecting all four possible points and going 2-0.
Abbotsford outshot Henderson 29-26 in the win and the three stars were Silovs, Petan and Dries.
The Canucks record now sits at 3-1-1 and they’re tied for second place in the Pacific Division. The club stays home for this week and next host the Ontario Reign on Friday (Oct. 29) and Saturday (Oct. 30). Both games begin at 7 p.m.