The Abbotsford Canucks dropped two in Colorado over the weekend, losing 3-1 on Friday (Feb. 9) and 3-2 on Saturday (Feb. 10) to the Eagles.
After splitting all of their series in 2024, the Canucks looked to dominate the Eagles and secure four road points going into the games.
The tone of Friday’s match was set early after a scrap just 18 seconds into the game came from Jermaine Loewen, who dropped the gloves with Keaton Middleton. Despite registering nine shots apiece, neither team was able to find the twine and headed into the second period scoreless.
The second period was a true test for the goaltenders. Chris Wagner was able to get one past the Canucks Artur Šilovs early in the second off a pass from Corey Schueneman and Colorado’s all-star representative Riley Tufte.
Abbotsford tried to respond but a reactive performance from Ivan Prosvetov didn’t allow the puck to see it through to the back of the net.
Both teams came out swinging as the shots on goal continued to climb, but the goalies were able to hold on.
It wasn’t until Nick Cicek was called for high sticking that Colorado was able to capitalize once again, with Ryan Sandelin picking up the deflection from Tanner Kero to put the Eagles up 2-0 heading into the third.
Desperate to get something going, Chase Wouters picked up a drop pass from Quinn Schmiemann to net his seventh of the season and first of the game to slice Colorado’s lead in half.
A pair of back-to-back four-minute double minors were given to each team, but both teams’ penalty kills sprung into action and neither was able to capitalize on the man advantage. Colorado got a late goal, the final of the game, courtesy of Spencer Smallman, who netted his sixth of the season to regain the Eagles’ two-goal lead.
Saturday’s game started out relatively calm, with even shots and each team being held to just one penalty a piece.
Colorado’s Tanner Kero notched the first and only goal in the period. He was able to pick up the rebound and put it past Abbotsford goalie Nikita Tolopilo for his sixth of the season, assisted by Ryan Sandelin and Cedric Pare.
A pair of back-to-back penalties to Colorado left them with a 5-on-3 that allowed Vasily Podkolin to send a one-timer from Jett Woo straight to the back of the net for his 14th of the season and the equalizer in the game.
Wouters and Wagner dropped the gloves just two minutes later, sending both of them to the penalty box. Shortly after, Woo battled it out with Peter Holland, and the two of them also landed in the sin bin.
With emotions heating up and both teams looking to pull ahead, Colorado’s D. J. Busdeker was able to find the back of the net for his third of the season, followed by another unanswered goal from Ryan Sandelin to put the Eagles up 3-1 heading into the third.
Abbotsford fought hard to get their game back and hopefully force overtime. Fighting until the last second, Aatu Räty was able to rip one from the point in the final second of the game for his ninth goal of the season, assisted by Woo and Wouters.
Unfortunately, there was not enough time left on the clock at that point to even the score and the Canucks dropped their second game in Colorado 3-2.
The Canucks are now back at home to face the Calgary Wranglers on Saturday (Feb. 17) and Monday (Feb. 19) for Flaunt Your Flannel night and a Family Day game.