Two periods in, this looked like a game the Abbotsford Canucks were destined to lose.
Down 4-1 to the San Diego Gulls after 40 minutes, in the middle of a successful California road and only battling for playoff positioning, the Canucks could have packed it in for the night on Wednesday (April 20).
But incredibly, the club scored two early goals to cut the lead to one and Jack Rathbone wired a shot with goalie Michael DiPietro on the bench to send the game to overtime.
The extra frame saw Justin Bailey complete both his hat trick and the Canucks comeback and earn the 5-4 win.
The win is even more meaningful because it means the Canucks remain two points up on the Bakersfield Condors in the battle for fourth place and home ice advantage in round one of the American Hockey League playoffs. Bakersfield earned a 4-1 win over San Jose. In fact, the Canucks have now moved into fourth as the Colorado Eagles lost and Abbotsford has two games in hand.
Never any doubt 😎 pic.twitter.com/za3SFCGu5B— X - Abbotsford Canucks (@abbycanucks) April 21, 2022
Bailey opened the scoring just 90 seconds in with a shorthanded goal, but after that the next two periods was all Gulls. Nikolas Brouillard scored a buzzer beater at the end of the first to tie the game at one and San Diego got goals from Blake McLaughlin, Greg Pateryn and Lucas Elvenes (power play) to go up 4-1 after two.
Abbotsford was also outshot 23-12 after 40 minutes, but things began clicking for the team midway through the second.
Sheldon Rempal scored his 30th this season on the power play at 2:05 to start the comeback and Bailey added his second shorthanded goal at 4:17. Rathbone then tied the game up at 19:35 and Bailey sealed the deal at 3:40 of overtime.
Rempal makes it a 4-2 game with a power play goal. That's his 30th of the year and 14th PPG pic.twitter.com/YJaEQH2S7Z— Ben Lypka (@BenLypka) April 21, 2022
Justin Bailey scores his 🎩hat trick🎩 goal to win it in a big come-from-behind victory for the Abbotsford Canucks.— 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀 Faber 🔥🎙 (@ChrisFaber39) April 21, 2022
That’s seven wins in a row for Abbotsford!
They trailed 4-1 after 40 minutes and come all the way back in a big win! pic.twitter.com/ha9AcczX6j
Justin Dowling, Bailey and Rathbone all had two points nights and Rempal led all players with seven shots on goal. DiPietro made 29 saves to record his 13th win this season.
The Gulls pulled goalie Olle Eriksson Ek after the Canucks third goal and Lukas Dostal was assessed with the loss.
Abbotsford has now leapfrogged the Eagles, who lost 5-3 to the Henderson Silver Knights on Wednesday. The Canucks now have a record of 37-21-5-1 and have won seven straight.
The Canucks road trip ends on Friday (April 22) when they take on the Stockton Heat. The next home game for the team occurs on Tuesday (April 26) when the Bakersfield Condors come to Abbotsford.