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Abbotsford’s Aatu Räty busts open scoring drought with pair of goals in 4-2 win over Colorado

Canucks game-winning goal considered a high stick by Colorado, Abbotsford widens gap in standings
Colorado and Abbotsford players battle for the puck. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

Abbotsford Canucks forward Aatu Räty shared to the media on Saturday (March 11) that he’s a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Finnish product channeled a little Kobe Bryant with a two-goal performance in the Canucks 4-2 win over the Colorado Eagles.

Räty busted apart a 2-2 tie at 14:40 of the third with a goal that the Eagles seemed to believe was a high stick (not as high as Kobe used to leap), but the officials made the call that it was a good goal.

About three minutes later, Räty dialled long distance on an empty net goal to give the Canucks some insurance.

The two goals were the first that Räty has scored in the Canucks organization since being involved in the Bo Horvat trade back on Jan. 30. The win was a very important one for the Canucks, as they sit in third place in the Pacific Division and widened the gap between themselves and the fourth placed Eagles – a fact not lost on Räty.

“Great win for us and really needed those two points for the team – not for me personally – but yeah it’s good to get the goal for me and hopefully that opens up the bottle and there is more coming,” he said.

He admitted his first goal was a little controversial, but that he respects the referee’s decision.

“I knew right away that it was kind of here or there but when I saw the ref go [makes goal sign] then you got to celebrate,” he said.

Räty added that he appreciates the fact that Abbotsford head coach Jeremy Colliton has put him in important situations, especially in tonight’s win.

“I feel like as a coach in the first period everybody plays, but then in the third you have to be having a good game – it doesn’t matter who you are,” he said. “Like if you’re not playing well, then you’re not getting minutes. It’s been a bit of a learning curve to me too. He’s a very demanding coach, but if you do the right things everyday he’ll be nice to you.”

The game also marked the return to the lineup for important veterans defenceman Brady Keeper and forward John Stevens. The pair were out with injuries for several weeks, and both played key roles on Saturday – especially on the penalty kill.

Keeper said he felt good tonight and his stat line agreed. He collected one assist, recorded one shot on goal and was a +2.

“It’s not easy to be out for a long period of time,” he said. “But I’m happy that coach put me out there [at the end of the game] trusted me. I’m going to continue to play hard and hopefully we can keep it going into the playoffs.”

Abbotsford’s Linus Karlsson scored the lone goal of the first period, beating Eagles goalie Keith Kinkaid just 79 seconds into the game. Karlsson now has 18 goals and is tied for third in rookie scoring for the AHL.

Alex Galchenyuk tied the game up with a power play goal 42 seconds into the second period, but Abbotsford’s Nils Höglander replied just 35 seconds later to put the Canucks back up. Höglander now has 13 goals on the season.

Colorado’s Spencer Smallman tied the game at two at 13:44, before Räty potted the final two goals.

Canucks goalie Spencer Martin was fantastic, making a number of big saves and stopping 26 shots. Abbotsford had the 33-26 shots edge for the game. Karlsson and Räty had multi-point nights, while Höglander led all players with seven shots on goal.

The crucial win improves Abbotsford’s record to 33-21-2-3 and they now have a four point lead over the fourth place Eagles. The two teams meet again on Sunday (March 12) at 4 p.m.

RELATED: Abbotsford Canucks earn 3-2 overtime win over Manitoba Moose

Abbotsford’s Aatu Räty pushes the puck forward against Colorado. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Abbotsford’s Aatu Räty celebrates his first goal as a member of the Canucks organization on Saturday (March 11). (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Abbotsford’s Aatu Räty celebrates his first goal as a member of the Canucks organization on Saturday (March 11). (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

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Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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