Tristen Nielsen was the shootout hero for the Abbotsford Canucks in his first game back since suffering a concussion back on Oct. 20.
Nielsen was the lone player who scored out of eight attempts and his silky smooth deke gave the Canucks a 3-2 shootout win over the Henderson Silver Knights in Nevada on Saturday (Nov. 18).
The Canucks and Knights went to the shootout after 65 minutes couldn’t break a 2-2 tie and both Abbotsford goalie Nikita Tolopilo and Henderson goalie Jordan Papirny were perfect until Nielsen faked forehand and went backhand to give his team the win.
The victory marks five straight wins for Abbotsford, who are now in the midst of their best start after 15 games since the 2014-15 season. The Canucks are now 10-4-1 on the season and are in second in the Pacific Division. That 2014-15 Canucks affiliate, which were known as the Utica Comets, started the season at 11-2-2.
Nice forecheck by Sasson leads to a Raty goal, 1-0 Abbotsford pic.twitter.com/92HIrBVOBU— Ben Lypka (@BenLypka) November 18, 2023
Abbotsford’s Aatu Räty opened the scoring at 13:27 after a great set-up from line mate Max Sasson. Räty now has four goals on the season. The Canucks led 1-0 after one.
Sasson made it 2-0 at 12:26, but Henderson’s Mason Geertsen made it a one-goal game at 15:11 of the second.
Sasson makes it 2-0 Abbotsford, great work again by that line pic.twitter.com/bX0UpNGpSs— Ben Lypka (@BenLypka) November 19, 2023
Former Abbotsford Canucks forward Sheldon Rempal then tied the game up at 16:04 of the third and sent the game to overtime. The Canucks were challenged with playing shorthanded for most of the third after Jett Woo was called for cross-checking and later assessed a misconduct for arguing the call.
However, great penalty kill work from Sheldon Dries and Nils Aman kept the game knotted up.
Tristen Nielsen has ice in his veins 🥶 pic.twitter.com/QbuYPzWTIm— Abbotsford Canucks (@abbycanucks) November 19, 2023
We then entered the shootout and Nielsen was the only player to score.
It was an excellent game for Tolopilo, who made 31 saves for his third win on the season. It was a good bounce back game for the Belarusian goalie, who lost his previous three starts.
Henderson outshot Abbotsford 33-32, with Sasson leading all Canucks with five shots on goal. Linus Karlsson added four.
Keeping the good times rolling with a 5️⃣th straight W 😎 pic.twitter.com/McPeNLSQnM— Abbotsford Canucks (@abbycanucks) November 19, 2023
In addition to the return of Nielsen, this weekend also saw forwards Vasily Podkolzin and Chase Wouters return to action. Both drew into the lineup for the first time in weeks on Friday (Nov. 17) in the Canucks 3-2 overtime win over Henderson.
Dries, Aman and Jack Studnicka all tallied for Abbotsford on Friday. Arturs Silovs made 29 saves for his seventh win on the season.
There was some concern for Canucks leading scorer Arshdeep Bains, who took a rough hit in the second period on Saturday and did not return for the remainder of the game. Defenceman Christian Wolanin also did not play on Friday or Saturday and the reasoning for his absence has not been disclosed.
The Canucks next travel to Calgary to battle the first place Wranglers on Nov. 25 and 26. Both games begin at 1 p.m. The next home games are set for Dec. 1 and 2 when the Laval Rocket come to Abbotsford.
The @abbycanucks are having one of the best starts in recent club history.— Ben Lypka (@BenLypka) November 18, 2023
A win today over @HSKnights would be the best start after 15 games since 2014-15 when they were the @UticaComets.
Travis Green was the head coach of that team. Markstrom was the goalie #canucks pic.twitter.com/0Hza37H0ap