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Hirano Scores First AHL Goal, Murdaca Earns First AHL Win in Canucks Victory

January 23, 2022 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Abbotsford Canucks News Release

The Abbotsford Canucks (12-12-3-1) came out on top against the San Diego Gulls (13-13-2-0) on Saturday night, winning 5-3 in front of their home fans at Abbotsford Centre. Joe Murdaca earned his first career AHL victory for Abbotsford and Francis Marrotte was credited with the loss for San Diego.

Tonight's first period was full of firsts for the Abby Canucks. Arturs Silovs was originally scheduled to start tonight's affair in net but was replaced at the last possible second by Joe Murdaca. Thus, the goaltender from Hamilton, ON made his first career AHL start between the pipes for the Canucks. Additionally, Yushiroh Hirano raced in and buried a one-timer feed from Nic Petan 10 seconds into the game for the first goal of the game. The tally was the first of the Tomakomai, Japan's AHL career.

At the 8:04 mark of the first period, the Canucks doubled their lead thanks to Ashton Sautner's first goal of the season (yet another first). Sautner had just been cleared from the Covid list and returned from the Vancouver Taxi Squad earlier in the day. Phil Di Giuseppe and Noah Juulsen combined with the helpers.

Kodie Curran cut the Abby lead in half at the 13:38 mark of the first period. Lucas Elvenes and Axel Andersson had the assists on the play. The score remained 2-1 at the end of the first 20 minutes.

Lucas Elvenes was tired of passing the puck and decided to score a goal at the 17:16 mark of the second period.

The Gulls nearly escaped the frame knotted at 2, but John Stevens was not having that. Stevens scored at the 19:01 mark to give the Canucks the lead once again. Di Giuseppe and Will Lockwood had the helpers as Abby took a 3-2 lead into the final frame.

The Canucks extended their lead to two goals when Will Lockwood found the back of the net halfway through the third period. Stevens set up the goal with a magnificent effort ultimately resulting in a pass to Lockwood that led to the marker. Stevens and Madison Bowey had the assists on the play.

Alex Limoges made it a one-score game with just over five minutes remaining, but Abbotsford put the game out of reach thanks to John Stevens' second goal of the night at the 16:21 mark of the third period. Ashton Sautner and Noah Juulsen assisted on the insurance goal.


"It felt immaculate to get my first win tonight. The vibes out there were great. It was a team win, only allowing 16 shots on net, the team put out a great effort. It was blocked shots after blocked shots tonight. The guys in front of me really put their bodies on the line tonight and wanted to win. It was a great feeling." - Joe Murdaca, Abbotsford goaltender.

"it's huge for me to know that my teammates are looking to me to provide that spark offensively. It makes you want to fight even harder when you know you're valued by the team. We have a great group of guys and I am proud to be part of this group." - Phil Di Giuseppe, Abbotsford forward.

"It felt great to score tonight. I've kind of evolved into a shutdown guy who spends a lot of time focusing on the defensive end and playing the penalty kill. But it sure feels great to score. No matter what role you're playing, whenever you can score a goal in professional hockey, it's a great feeling." - Ashton Sautner, Abbotsford defenceman.


Yuhsiroh Hirano netted his first career AHL goal tonight in the first period. He is the first Japanese player to score a goal in the AHL.

Ashton Sautner scored his first goal of the season tonight in the second period. He added an assist in the third period to register two points tonight.

John Stevens continued his strong play tonight, registering three points (2-1-3) in the victory. Stevens now has seven goals and 12 points (7-5-12) on the season.

Noah Juulsen had a season high three points (0-3-3) tonight for Abbotsford. Noah is now tied for the lead among Canucks D-men in points with eight (2-6-8) this season.

Phil Di Giuseppe had a pair of assists for the Canucks. Phil now has 20 points on the season )7-13-20)

Nic Petan's first period assist gives him a team high 14 helpers this season.

John Stevens led the Canucks in shots on goal (5).

Joe Murdaca earned his first career AHL win tonight. He turned aside 13 of the 16 shots he faced.


John Stevens, ABB (2-1-3)

Noah Juulsen, ABB (0-3-3)

Lucas Elvenes, SD (1-2-3)


Ashton Sautner celebrates with Will Lockwood following Sautner's first period goal.


The Abbotsford Canucks (12-12-3-1) will rinse and repeat tomorrow night, once again battling the San Diego Gulls (13-13-2-0) at Abbotsford Centre. Puck drop is scheduled for 4pm on Sunday. Both teams are tied for sixth place in the Pacific Division with 28 points.

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