|FINAL | 2017-18 Season, Game 39 | Wednesday January 10, 2018
Place Bell, Laval, QC
Forward lines and defense pairings:
Terry – Cracknell – Scherbak
Veilleux – McCarron – Baun
Petti – Audette – Boucher
Broll – Ebbing – Waked
Gelinas – Taormina
Parisi – Juulsen
Bourque – Lernout
Markus Eisenschmid (undisclosed), Stefan Leblanc, Charlie Lindgren (flu)
Jeremy Gregoire (day-to-day), Jeremiah Addison (shoulder)
With the Rocket back in the win column to end their last road trip, they headed back to Laval to kick off a lengthy home stand through the remainder of the month with only one road game between now and February.
On Wednesday night the team welcomed the Utica Comets to Place Bell, where they reignited the fiesty, fast, powerful game the two teams played in New York on Friday night. The intensity and physicality of that game picked up right where it was left off, with the Comets controlling a lot of the puck possession for the first few minutes of the opening period.
Then Chris Terry took matters into his own hands on a perfect tic-tac-toe play which started with Adam Cracknell making a long pass from the point to Nikita Scherbak down low. Scherbak immediately fed the puck over to Terry in the slot who sent a one-timer cruising right past Thatcher Demko.
The Comets didn’t take that lightly, however, and almost immediately got the goal right back when Marc-Olivier Roy deflected the puck past Michael McNiven to even the score at 1-1.
Simon Bourque found himself in the penalty box for holding shortly thereafter and the Comets converted their man advantage right away to give themselves a 2-1 lead. Late in the period, Yannick Veilleux took a boarding penalty and again the Utica power play unit capitalized when Adam Comrie fired home a one-timer.
The second period didn’t start much better, as Andrew Cherniwchan scored his second goal of the season, both against Laval. But then things started to change as the Rocket seemed to collectively get quite serious about stopping the bleeding.
McNiven responded with a few clutch saves to help give his team some energy, and then the home team really started to pressure in the offensive zone. Eric Gelinas, Jordan Boucher and Matt Taormina all had some high quality chances on net, but Demko was up to the task at each turn.
Roy had a seat after getting a whistle for slashing, and the power play unit of Terry, Michael McCarron, and Scherbak looked particularly strong with each forward getting more than one dangerous shot on net. The Rocket ended the period still trailing by three goals, but outshooting their opponent in the period 16-6.
The final period looked good for the Rocket, to begin with. They kept up the pace, the forecheck was strong again, and they controlled the puck. But then penalties started to creep back in, and things unraveled quickly.
After Adam Cracknell took a gigantic open-ice hit in the neutral zone which went unpenalized, he was called for slashing at the same time a Comets player went to the box for cross-checking. During the ensuing four-on-four tensions ramped up even further, with Daniel Audette getting sent to the box roughing and Terry heading to the dressing room after taking a hard hit along the boards from Darren Archibald.
Cole Cassels eventually put the puck into the Laval net as the period ticked down, and the Rocket were handed a disappointing 5-1 loss on home ice.
The Rocket now have just a day to regroup before welcoming the Hartford Wolf Pack to town on Friday night, where they’ll look to get back on their feet.
▲ Michael McCarron, Nikita Scherbak, Chris Terry, Matt Taormina
▼ Thomas Ebbing, Jordan Boucher
|0 for 5||Power Play||3 for 4|
|AHL Three Stars|
Interviews conducted by Amy Johnson for AHL Report
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