|FINAL (OT) | 2018-19 Season, Game 26 | Saturday December 8, 2018
Coca-Cola Coliseum, Toronto, ON
Forward lines and defense pairings:
Belzile – McCarron – Alain
Jevpalovs – Evans – Froese
Shinkaruk – Audette – Grenier
Pezzetta – Verbeek – Waked
Alzner – Sklenicka
Mete – Lernout
Depres – Lamarche
Adam Plant, Michal Moravcik, Ryan Culkin
Gustav Olofsson (shoulder), Cale Fleury (day-to-day), Charlie Lindgren (lower body), Lukas Vejdemo (upper body)
Friday night’s drubbing in Belleville was a game the Laval Rocket likely wanted to soon forget. Fortunately they had a chance to do just that on Saturday afternoon when they traveled to Toronto to take on the Marlies.
Despite a 4:00pm start, the game had a quick pace right from puck drop and there were a number of things that Laval was doing right during the first 20 minutes: they didn’t take a penalty, they scored on the power play, and they looked good defensively.
Alex Belzile opened the scoring when he scooped up a loose puck to the side of the net as Michael McCarron and Alexandre Alain were creating traffic. Jeremy Bracco quickly negated that goal with one of his own, however, as he was left wide open to the right of Michael McNiven and triggered teddy bears to come raining down from the rafters for the Toronto Teddy Bear Toss day.
Later in the period, on the Rocket’s second power play opportunity, Jake Evans scored his eighth goal of the season with a wrister from the slot to restore the Rocket’s lead at 2-1.
The second period was more in the hands of the Marlies, as they outshot the Rocket 8-4 in the frame and managed to score a power play goal on Laval’s only penalty. The home team put on the pressure later into the period but McNiven and the Rocket defense stood strong to keep it a one-goal game.
Penalties started to accumulate in the third period, and the Rocket still struggled to get out of their own end or to put shots on goal when they did break out and into the offensive zone. The Marlies forechecked mightily, fighting to find a way to tie the game. Simon Depres helped them do just that when he took an ill-timed high-sticking penalty with just over a minute left in regulation. Toronto made sure to find an equalizer on the ensuing power play.
In overtime, it was Toronto who would pay the price for taking a penalty when Depres redeemed himself by blasting the puck from the point on a power play and finding the back of Kasimir Kaskisuo‘s net. The Laval bench poured onto the ice with excitement and relief after finally finding a way to win.
The Rocket will now travel home to Laval where they’ll have a few days of practice before the Belleville Senators arrive at Place Bell for yet another rematch on Wednesday night.
▲ Michael McNiven, Alex Belzile, Jake Evans
|2 for 6||Power Play||2 for 5|
|AHL Three Stars|
Interviews conducted by Amy Johnson for AHL Report
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