Joe Cox – Jake Evans – William Pelletier
Alexandre Alain – Michael McCarron – Antoine Waked
Yannick Veilleux – Kevin Lynch – Nikita Jevpalovs
Hayden Verbeek – Michael Pezzetta – Ralph Cuddemi
Xavier Ouellet – Josh Brook
Otto Leskinen – Maxim Lamarche
Gustav Olofsson – Evan McEneny
Cayden Primeau – Keith Kinkaid
James Phelan (illness), Karl Alzner (illness)
Phil Varone (wrist), Noah Juulsen (upper body), Alex Belzile (pectoral surgery), Dale Weise (day-to-day), Charles Hudon (lower body)
For the final game before a week-long Christmas break, the Rocket hit the road on Friday night to face off against the Utica Comets. Injuries continued to pile up for Laval, with Charles Hudon staying behind to rest a lower-body injury, and Karl Alzner staying in Montreal due to illness. Yannick Veilleux, recently signed to a PTO, made his season debut with his former team.
The game started with an odd occurrence: Hayden Verbeek was sent off the ice and down the tunnel as he was mistakenly left off the official game roster and was ineligible to play. James Phelan was the player accidentally listed in his place, a healthy scratch for the night.
But the Rocket applied the most pressure in the opening period and it paid off when Alexandre Alain buried a perfect pass from Otto Leskinen and put the puck in back door on Zane McIntyre.
In the middle frame, Veilleux made an instant impact in his first game back with a goal of his own, as he went top shelf on McIntyre. Not long after, however, Utica scored their first goal of the game when Kole Lind completed Brogan Rafferty‘s centering pass from down low.
Justin Bailey potted the equalizer later in the period when he fired a quick wrister short side through traffic to find the back of Laval’s net. Cayden Primeau had to come up with some good saves at the end of the period when the Comets were on an extended five-on-three power play, although they did have an open net a few times which they just couldn’t get the puck into.
14 seconds into the third period, Utica took their first lead of the game when Rafferty sniped a one-timer and went top corner on Primeau. But Laval managed to tie the game yet again when they were handed a full two-minute five-on-three advantage. Michael McCarron tipped in Josh Brook‘s shot to tie the game.
But that’s when the game went off the rails. Just a few minutes later, during a scrum after a whistle, McCarron speared an opponent repeatedly which drew the ire of many Utica players. He was sent to the penalty box, but after deliberation it was decided that in addition to a five-minute major penalty for spearing, a game misconduct would also be assessed.
Apparently unhappy with this decision, McCarron attempted to go after the referee as he was leaving the game, smashed his stick in the ref’s direction over the crossbar, threw his stick at the official and had to be escorted off the ice. It’s likely that the AHL will hand down a suspension for either the spearing incident, abuse of an official, or both.
After that fracas was over, and Antoine Waked found himself in the penalty box as well, the Comets took full advantage of their own five-on-three power play, scoring two times in less than a minute to down the Rocket 5-3.
Laval doesn’t play again for a week when they welcome the Toronto Marlies to Place Bell for a two-game series at home.
Plus / Minus
▲ Yannick Veilleux, Ralph Cuddemi, Otto Leskinen
▼ Michael McCarron, Xavier Ouellet, Cayden Primeau