|FINAL | 2017-18 Season, Game 68 | Sunday March 25, 2018
Yardmen Arena, Belleville, ON
Forward lines and defense pairings:
[one_half]Rychel – Cracknell – Terry
[one_half_last]Parisi – Taormina
Daniel Audette (lower body), Stefan Leblanc (day to day), Antoine Waked (upper body), David Broll, Rob Hamilton, Zach Fucale
Both teams taking the ice on Sunday afternoon at Yardmen Arena were playing their third game in as many days. For the Laval Rocket, they needed to try to erase both disappointing losses they had suffered on Friday and Saturday night, and they seemed to come out of the gate looking to do just that.
Kerby Rychel got the scoring started early for the Rocket when, after a turnover by the Senators near the blue line, he drove the net and wristed the puck past Filip Gustavsson in his AHL debut. An assist by Chris Terry put the Rocket forward just one point behind Lehigh Valley’s Phil Varone for the league lead in overall points.
But then, while Laval was on a power play, Colin White managed to get loose shorthanded and went in on Charlie Lindgren on a breakaway to even the score at 1-1.
The Rocket were at least showing signs of some offensive grit as they continued to pressure Belleville, and put pucks on Gustavsson. For the first time in a while, they outshot their opponent in the opening frame.
Eric Gelinas took the Rocket’s first penalty of the game towards the end of the period, and the resulting power play gave the Senators an opportunity to gain the lead, which they didn’t pass up. Ville Pokka took a rebound off of Lindgren in close and banked the puck back door into the net.
Belleville went on to score two more times in the second period, including another power play goal, but the Rocket kept pace with them when Adam Cracknell found the back of the net for his 26th goal of the season.
But the wheels completely came off in the third. The Senators would score four additional unanswered goals in the third period, giving Pokka a hat trick and setting a Belleville franchise record for goals in a game. Frustrations boiled over for the Rocket late in the game with a big scrum in the middle of the ice which landed plenty of players in the penalty box. The final score of 8-2 was a dismal way to end one of the worst weekends the Rocket have experienced all season.
With the Utica Comets clinching a playoff berth tonight as well, the Rocket have officially been eliminated from the playoffs but there is still plenty for this team to play for: contracts, personal goals, jobs next year. They have a few days to regroup and get ready to take on a tough team in Toronto on Wednesday.
▲ Tom Parisi, Chris Terry, Adam Cracknell, Kerby Rychel
▼ Matt Taormina, Johnny Austin
|1 for 4||Power Play||2 for 4|
|AHL Three Stars|
Interviews conducted by Amy Johnson for AHL Report
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