Abbotsford’s Michael DiPietro, shown here in the team’s home opener, had one of his best performances of the season on Friday (Jan. 14). He made 23 saves to earn a 5-1 win over the San Diego Gulls. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

Abbotsford’s Michael DiPietro, shown here in the team’s home opener, had one of his best performances of the season on Friday (Jan. 14). He made 23 saves to earn a 5-1 win over the San Diego Gulls. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

DiPietro backstops Abbotsford Canucks to 5-1 win

Goalie makes 23 saves in first win since Nov. 30, Canucks get goals from five different players

Michael DiPietro made some big stops when tested en route to scoring his first American Hockey League win since Nov. 30, as the Abbotsford Canucks downed the San Diego Gulls 5-1 on Friday (Jan. 14).

It’s also the first time he’s won this season outside of the Abbotsford Centre. The win may silence a few critics and ease the calms of Canucks fans following the prospect.

He’s had a challenging season, which was encapsulated by a 6-2 loss on home ice on Jan. 6.

But Friday was a different story. DiPietro shut the Gulls down, especially in the second period and was only beaten once in the hockey game.

The Canucks started the game off hot, with first period goals from Phil Di Giuseppe at 3:03 and John Stevens at 7:12.

Tristen Nielsen scored the lone goal of the second period, and that was where DiPietro shined. Abbotsford actually outshot San Diego 12-4 in the first, but the Gulls roared back and outshot the Canucks 13-5.

San Diego got on the board at 9:46 of the third, when Lucas Elvenes finally beat DiPietro. Justin Bailey scored an empty net goal at 16:22 and Danila Klimovich ripped a shot past Gulls goalie Francis Marotte to make it a 5-1 final.

Bailey, who was a threat offensively nearly the entire night, and Stevens both recorded two points. DiPietro made 23 saves in one his best performances this season.

The win snaps a four-game losing streak for the Canucks, and the team now improves to 11-11-3-1 on the season. The two teams meet again tomorrow at 7 p.m. and that game is free for everyone to view on AHL TV.

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