Nucks News – March 2024

Calgary Canuck's #8 Chris Kobelka flips a puck during warmingCalgary Canuck's #8 Chris Kobelka flips a puck during warming

Recap by Mackenzie Grafton

The Calgary Canucks finished the last month of play with a record of 5-3-1 and on a three-game winning streak. 

The Nucks finished the season in third place with 65 points and with a record of 31-23-3, clinching their spot in the 2024 AJHL playoffs. “I think it was good. After winning, our last three games, I think we’re getting on the right track,” said head coach Brad Moran on how the season ended, “Now we gotta a couple of weeks to put in some work for our first playoff.”

Calgary’s opponent in the opening round has yet to be decided as the bottom six teams will battle it out in the 2024 AJHL Play-In Series. Round One of the Inter Pipeline Cup AJHL Playoffs is set to begin the weekend of March 15-17. 

Captain Bowden Singleton said he’s proud of his team’s performance this past season. I couldn’t be happier with the group of guys that are in there,” said Singleton, “They make it easy to come to the rink every day.”

Singleton is among the players on his team who have been nominated for AJHL Awards, the group includes Gavin Garland, Easton Hewson, Julian Molinaro, and Riley Hearn. Head Coach Brad Moran was also named a finalist for Coach of the Year.

AJHL Awards Finalists

Top Forward Award – Bowden Singleton

Finished fourth in AJHL scoring with 21 goals and 67 points, along with a league-leading 46 assists. 

 “It doesn’t come without a few guys I played with all year,” said Singleton on his performance this year, “Playing with Garland and Hipkin, they make it so easy for me. They have high skill, high IQ and I fed off them, it’s good to lead the team but at the end of the day it’s a team effort.”

Rookie of the Year – Gavin Garland

Finished third in Rookie scoring with 17 goals and 26 assists. Garland was named AJHL Rookie of the Week twice this season.

Outstanding Defenceman – Easton Hewson 

9th in the AJHL for Defencemen scoring six goals and 23 assists.

Top Goaltender – Julian Molinaro 

Led the league with 27 wins, and six shutouts, along with the league’s second-best SV% of .916 and GAA of 2.60.

2023-24 RBC AJHL Community AmbassadorsRiley Hearn

Assistant Captain Riley Hearn has been nominated for the 2023-2024 RBC Community Ambassadors Scholarship.  

Coach of the Year – Brad Moran 

Brad Moran coached his team to a third-place finish with 31 wins. 

Player Spotlight – #8 – Chris Kobelka

Kobelka had a solid end of the season, scoring three goals and five assists over the last month. The defencemen led the blueline this season with eight goals and was second with 23 points. 

February/March Recap

February 2nd at Drumheller Dragons

The Canucks kicked off February with a trip out to Drumheller to face the Dragons. Trailing 2-0 late in the second, Ty Hipkin scored with 1:39 left to play with his 21st goal of the season. In the third, It was Hipkin again with his 22nd and second goal of the game to force this game into extra hockey. Unfortunately for the Canucks, the comeback fell short as they would only pick up a point falling 3-2 in the shootout.  

February 6th vs Drumheller Dragons

Another date with the Dragons saw the Canucks host at Ken Bracko Arena. The Dragons would again jump to a 2-0 lead in the opening 20. Jack Plandowski would cut into the lead in the second period with his 10th of the season. 1:12 into the final frame, Chris Kobelka would find the back of the net, tying this game at 2-2. A pair of late Dragon goals would put the Canucks out, falling 4-2 to Drumheller.

February 9th at Drayton Valley Thunder

After a scoreless opening frame, Gavin Garland would score on the powerplay, and then again minutes later for a 2-0 lead. In the third, the Canucks scored another powerplay goal, this time from Nolan Paquette making it 3-0. With under five to play, Garland would complete the hat trick with his third goal of the game and 15th of the season. Julian Molinaro picked up the shutout, making 31 saves in the 4-0 win. 

February 10th at Whitecourt Wolverines

Trailing by a pair of goals in the third period, Jack Plandowski would cut into the lead to make it 2-1. With the Goalie pulled, Calgary would attempt the comeback, but Whitecourt would score a pair of goals on the empty net to make it 4-1. With five seconds in the game, Riley Hearn would score his third of the season, but it was too late as the Canucks would fall 4-2 to the Wolverines 

February 16th vs Drumheller Dragons

The Dragons would jump to a 2-0 lead after one period of play before Julien Gervais would cut into the lead for a 2-1 game. A minute later the Dragons would regain a two-goal lead and carry it into the third period. 48 seconds into the third, Ty Hipkin found the back of the net to bring this game on goal game. With 1:31 to play, Easton Hewson would tie this one up to force overtime. The Canucks would end this one quickly as Chris Kobelka would be the hero, 36 seconds into extra hockey with Calgary winning 4-3 

February 19th at Drayton Valley Thunder

Falling behind 2-1 early in this one, the Canucks were unable to keep up with Drayton Valley as the Thunder would go on to take this game by a score of 6-3. Bowden Singleton, Nolan Paquette, and Ty Hipkin would each pick up a goal on the road.

February 27th at Canmore Eagles

In Canmore, Riley Hearn would kick things off for Canucks with the games opening goal, his fourth of the season. Canmore would tie this game up in the second, but the Canucks would bust up the floodgates scoring five unanswered in the third. Five different players would score a goal in the final frame, Jackson Bessette, Julien Gervais, Nolan Paquette, Ty Hipkin, and Bowden Singleton each would score, including three powerplay goals as the Canucks picked up a 6-1 Win. 

March 1st at Olds Grizzlys 

The Canucks would head to Olds for the last road game of the regular season to take on the Grizzlys. Chris Kobelka got the Canucks on board with his 8th of the season, making it 1-0. Later in the frame, Calgary was able to extend to the lead with two powerplay goals from Cody Pisarcyk and Gavin Garland. 

Early in the second, Olds would cut into the 3-0 lead with a goal, before Jackson Bessette would respond midway in the middle frame making it 4-1. Olds would get on the board twice with under five in the second period, with the Canucks holding a 4-3 lead. 

In the third, Jack Plandowski would score his 12th of the season, stretching the lead to 5-3. Under two minutes later, Pisarcyk found his second of the game. Olds would get one more on the powerplay but Pisarcyk would seal with the empty net goal, picking up the hat trick. Canucks would head home with a 7-4 victory. 

March 2nd vs Olds Grizzlys

The Canucks returned home to host the Grizzlys in the last home game of the regular season. In the first, Matthew Paszkiewicz would get the Canucks going to grab a 1-0 lead with his first AJHL goal. The second period would see the Canucks scoring three more times, making it 4-0. Nolan Paquette picked up his fifth of the season, Bowden Singleton would grab goal number 21 on the season, and Cody Pisarcyk would score his fourth goal in two games. 

Leading 4-0 in the third period, Julien Gervais would score the final goal in the Canucks regular season en route to a 5-0 win. Julian Molinaro would pick up his sixth league-leading shutout with a 23-save performance against the Grizzlys. 

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