Rempal, Klimovich Lead Canucks Past Gulls In Inaugural MatchupDec 15, 2021
By AJ Manderichio/SanDiegoGulls.com
In their inaugural matchup with their new Pacific Division opponents, the San Diego Gulls fell to the Abbotsford Canucks 4-0 tonight at Pechanga Arena San Diego. The win snaps a season-high five-game home point streak for the Gulls, who suffered their first regulation loss in San Diego since Nov. 6 against the Colorado Eagles.
Sheldon Rempal scored twice, and Danila Klimovich posted the first multi-point performance of his American Hockey League career, collecting 1-1=2 points to lead the Canucks. Sheldon Dries scored his league-leading 13th goal for Abbotsford. Spencer Martin made 28 saves for his first 10th career AHL shutout.
Olle Eriksson Ek stopped 19 shots as the Gulls failed to score for the first time this season.
"I thought we had a decent start, couple of breakdowns and then the game got away from us," Gulls head coach Joel Bouchard said. "After that, you know they played really well. We didn’t manage the game as well as we [could]. We looked young tonight. A few guys that haven’t played for a long time and we felt rust in our team, felt we were out of sync.
"It’s gonna happen in the American League. You got guys moving, guys coming back, guys going and kind of let them play in the third period. I didn’t think it was a really good game for us. Missed a lot of scoring chances too. If we could have got a couple goals in the first forty minutes, a lot of ifs and buts tonight."
Abbotsford set the tone early, establishing a run-and-gun game and finding success with an attack based on speed and physical play. It paid immediate dividends, as Rempal scored the game’s first goal just 3:27 into the first period.
The Canucks capitalized on a turnover, with Nick Petan collecting a loose puck in the faceoff dot. Rempal spun away from his defender and found open space, deflecting a pass from Petan by the unsuspecting Eriksson Ek for the game's first goal.
Petan extended his point streak to seven games. He's collected 3-7=10 points over that stretch.
Dries doubled Abbotsford's advantage, scoring a power-play goal with 6:50 left in the period. Klimovich fired a shot on Eriksson Ek that went in and out of the goaltender's glove. Dries crashed the net, sending the puck to the top of the net for his sixth goal in his last six games.
The Canucks remained strong on the power play, ending the night as the fifth-ranked unit in the AHL.
The Gulls opened the middle frame with a push, opening the period with several quality chances while holding Abbotsford shotless for over five minutes.
Klimovich would swing momentum the other way, scoring on his team’s first shot at 5:48 of the middle frame.
Vincent Arseneau caused a turnover deep in the San Diego defensive zone, laying a big hit right near the goal line. The puck came to a wide-open Klimovich, who snapped a quick shot past Eriksson Ek for his third goal of the season.
"First shot on net goes in on a breakdown and then kind of give that second one and kind of lack a little bit of, you know, desperation in a couple of plays and they’re a good team,” Bouchard said. “I knew and I watched and I told the guys they’re fast, they’re big, they’re going to be coming and they did. Their goalie was really good. I don’t think our shooting selection was good. I don’t think our overall game, it wasn’t a good game for us overall. I don’t think the guys meant bad, I just think it didn’t work out the way we wanted and showed a lack of maturity in the process of the game."
Rempal would snuff out any hopes of a San Diego comeback, scoring his eighth goal of the season with just over five minutes remaining in regulation. Abbotsford converted on an odd-man rush, with WIll Lockwood sending a backhand, spinning pass to a streaking Rempal in the slot. He one-timed his attempt past the blocker of Eriksson Ek for his eighth goal of the season.
"I don’t know how many good scoring chances we had tonight, but I would think it would be our higher average for the season," Gulls defenseman Brendan Guhle said. "So, I think we’ve got to build off that and sharpen us some things defensively."
The Gulls will continue a team-record seven-game point streak on Friday against the Bakersfield Condors. Puck drop is 7 p.m. PT on AHL TV and the Gulls Audio Network.