The Abbotsford Canucks and the Stockton Heat faced off for the very first time on Friday (Nov. 5). (Stockton Heat Twitter photo)

The Abbotsford Canucks and the Stockton Heat faced off for the very first time on Friday (Nov. 5). (Stockton Heat Twitter photo)

Abbotsford Canucks edged 3-2 by Stockton Heat

Late rally not enough as Abbotsford falls up short in first-ever battle against former home team

The Heat have cost Abbotsford again, but this time it was only a few points in the standings.

The Abbotsford Canucks were in California on Friday (Nov. 5) to take on the Stockton Heat – the Calgary Flames affiliate which was formerly based in Abbotsford – and despite a late rally the Canucks fell 3-2.

The first two periods saw Canucks goalie Michael DiPietro stand on his head to keep it a close game.

Abbotsford was outshot 31-18 in the first two periods and the Heat got goals from captain Byron Froese in the first and Glenn Gawdin in the second. Abbotsford’s Cameron Schilling added a power play goal at 13:06 to make it a 2-1 game adter two.

Stockton’s Adam Ruzicka scored his seventh 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. Abbotsford did outshoot Stockton 12-5 in the third.

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 DiPietro was forced to make some big saves. They did successfully kill all four penalties they were charged with.

According to the AHL, attendance was 1,069, but fans were very sparse and not all that vocal.

The game also 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.

The Canucks fall to 3-3-2 on the season, while the Heat are now 6-0-1. The two teams meet again tomorrow (Saturday) and puck drop is set for 6 p.m.

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