Abbotsford Canucks forward Vincent Arseneau celebrates the team’s lone goal on Saturday (Nov. 6) vs. the Stockton Heat. (Abbotsford Canucks Twitter photo)

Abbotsford Canucks forward Vincent Arseneau celebrates the team’s lone goal on Saturday (Nov. 6) vs. the Stockton Heat. (Abbotsford Canucks Twitter photo)

Winless weekend for Abbotsford Canucks in Stockton

Canucks swept by the Stockton Heat, set to host Diwali Night on Friday vs. San Jose

The Abbotsford Canucks first trip to Stockton, Calif. proved to fruitless one.

Facing the previous professional hockey franchise to occupy the Abbotsford Centre, the Canucks fell 3-2 on Friday and 2-1 on Saturday. The losses extend the team’s current winless streak to four games.

Friday’s game saw the Canucks stage a late rally, but the team was outshot 31-18 over the first two periods. Stockton led 1-0 after one and 2-1 after two. Abbotsford’s Cameron Schilling scored on the power play to get the Canucks on the board.

The Canucks ramped up the pressure in the third, outshooting Stockton 12-5. Heat forward Adam Ruzicka scored his seventh goal of this relatively young American Hockey League season at 14:16 of the third and Abbotsford’s John Stevens made it interesting with a goal at 18:39, but there wasn’t enough time to stage a full comeback for the Canucks.

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Special teams was again a story, as the Canucks did score once with the man advantage but also had a two-man advantage for 87 seconds and failed to score. The Heat actually has a breakaway and a two-on-one during the two-man advantage and Michael DiPietro was forced to make some big saves. They did successfully kill all four penalties they were charged with.

Friday marked the 2021-22 AHL debut for Jack Rathbone, who was paired with Noah Juulsen for the majority of the game. He also had time on both the power play and the penalty kill. He recorded one shot on Friday.

Phi Di Giuseppe led all Abbotsford players with six shots, with Sheldon Rempal posting four and Danila Klimovich adding three. DiPietro had a strong game, making 33 saves and keeping the game close in the first two periods.

Saturday was another relatively close game, but special teams again played a factor. Abbotsford went zero for six with the man advantage, while Stockton went one for four.

Abbotsford’s Sheldon Rempal opened the scoring at 5:15 of the first, with Sheldon Dries and Rathbone drawing the assists. Stockton replied in the second, with goals from Eetu Tuulola and Matthew Phillips (power play goal) and that proved to be enough.

Abbotsford outshot Stockton 26-21 and Arturs Silovs made 19 saves in the loss. Rempal led the Canucks with fourt shots, while Dries and Schilling had three apiece.

“It’s certainly an empty feeling going home without any points this weekend,” Rempal told media after the game. “We had our chances late in the third period, and if a few bounces go our way we likely come out of this game with a different result. We learned a lot as a team over this weekend, and we’ll look to keep growing from here.”

The Canucks record drops to 3-4-2 and they sit in sixth place in the AHL’s Pacific Division.

Sunday (Nov. 7) also saw the Vancouver Canucks send forward Nic Petan back to Abbotsford. He has recorded two goals in two games in the AHL.

The team next welcomes the San Jose Barracuda to the AC for the first time ever on Friday (Nov. 12). Diwali Night is the theme for Friday’s game. Face-off is set for 7 p.m. The two teams meet again on Sunday (Nov. 14) at 4 p.m.

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