Two third period goals gave the Abbotsford Canucks (31-19-2-2) a 3-2 win over the Ontario Reign (30-19-3-1) on Wednesday night at Toyota Arena. Ontario’s goals were both scored in the second period, with Alan Quine and Samuel Helenius finding the back of the net for the Reign.
Cal Petersen stopped 17 shots in the contest while holding his team in the game. Ontario had a 32-20 shots-on-goal edge in the contest and netted the lone power play goal of the night in a losing effort.
More from head coach Marco Sturm and Quine below.
Abbotsford netted the lone goal of the opening period when Nils Hoglander converted on a breakaway to make it 1-0 at 13:07.
The Reign tied things up at 1-1 early on in the second when Aidan Dudas connected with Quine on a one-time look during a power play advantage. Quine’s quick shot from the bottom of the right circle beat Spencer Martin to even up the contest at 5:26 on Ontario’s second power play of the game. A second assist on the strike was also credited to Taylor Ward.
Helenius gave the Reign the lead in the closing minutes of the middle frame, scoring his second tally of the season off a feed by Lias Andersson at the top of the left circle. Helenius broke his stick on the shot, but the puck glanced off an Abbotsford skater and into the net to put Ontario on top, 2-1. Tyler Madden recorded the second helper on the play for his 13th assist of the season.
But the Canucks came from behind in the third, scoring twice on just five shots in the final stanza. First, Hoglander netted his second of the game at 7:13, which came on a breakaway rush just like his first tally in the opening frame.
Abbotsford went in front for good at 10:47 on a blast by Jack Rathbone from the high slot into the top left corner of the net.
The Reign had two power play opportunities after Rathbone’s strike but were unable to find an equalizer. Ontario had an 11-5 shot advantage in the final frame.
Martin stopped 30 shots for the Canucks in the victory, while the Reign finished 1-for-6 on the power play and held Abbotsford without a goal on their only man-advantage of the contest.
On the team’s performance tonight
We played a pretty solid game. We probably didn’t like too much of the second half of the first period, but other than that I think it was good. We dominated the second period and got the lead. Unfortunately, two individual mistakes cost us the game in the third, so that’s tough because we should have at least a point from tonight, but we don’t and we just have to move forward.
On Samuel Helenius’ goal
First of all, it was a good setup by Lias. He won his battle one-on-one and he fed Sammy with a good pass. Yes, [Sammy] got lucky, but you know what, that’s what you have to do against a team like that. You’ve got to shoot the puck to break him down.
On playing Abbotsford six times before the end of the season
They’re right with us so we know what to expect. That’s exactly what we got today. It’s going to be a tight game every time and hopefully its going to be us on the other side. I think those kinds of games get you ready for the playoffs. It’s a good test for both of us, and again, hopefully we learn from that one today.
On tonight’s game overall
I think after the first period, the second was definitely our best and that’s our foundation. It’s tough when you get off the gas in the third a little bit, but there’s dips and flows to the game and that’s when we let up and it got out of hand.
On the team’s attitude when trailing in the third period
We’ve been a pretty resilient group all year so I don’t think there was a whole lot of panic. Everyone knows we can score. Obviously we don’t want to do that in the third. We want to protect the lead and be a lot better to close up games, especially heading into the playoffs. It’s frustrating but I think the guys on the bench full believed in ourselves to score at the end, and its just a shame that we didn’t.
On scoring on the power play with the second unit
We have a little different setup and I think we know that when we do get our chance, we have to take advantage of it. It was nice to get one and capitalize. There’s a little bit of chemistry with that group as of late and it’s just nice to contribute when we can. We know how important it is to provide backup scoring.
On playing in front of Cal Petersen
It’s awesome. It’s just confidence [for us]. I think everybody on our team, our staff, everyone knows he’s going to be back there to shut the door. He’s been amazing all year and we’re very lucky to have him on our team.
The Reign wrap up their homestand at Toyota Arena on Wednesday night when they host one of the teams they’re tied in the standings with, the Abbotsford Canucks, at 7 p.m.
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