|FINAL | 2017-18 Season, Game 43 | Saturday January 20, 2018
Yardmen Arena, Belleville, ON
Forward lines and defense pairings:
[one_half]Audette – Cracknell – McCarron
[one_half_last]Gelinas – Taormina
Stefan Leblanc, Thomas Ebbing
Chris Terry (lower body), Jeremiah Addison (shoulder)
Friday night’s game in Laval between the Rocket and the Senators was nowhere near a good showing for the home team. Desperately needing points to move up in the standings as the playoff push begins to heat up, they headed to Belleville on Saturday night to rematch against the team who dominated them the night before.
It was a completely different-looking Rocket who took the ice in the first period, however. With Nikita Scherbak a late scratch, lines were shuffled around quite a bit. But Laval came out skating hard, forechecking, and controlling the puck.
Marcus Hogberg was the goaltender to beat on this night, and he was not exactly up to the test early on. Eric Gelinas got the scoring started for the Rocket on the power play when he blasted a shot from the faceoff circle with Adam Cracknell and Mike McCarron causing traffic in and around the crease.
Then Marcus Eisenschmid got on the board with an even-strength goal he batted out of the air off a big rebound coughed up by Hogberg. Soon after, Cracknell potted a goal of his own as he patiently slid into the slot, deked around a Senators player and wristed the goal past Hogberg. McCarron earned his second assist of the night on the play.
Jack Rodewald delivered a hard hit up high on Brett Lernout a few minutes later, and Thomas Ebbing immediately dropped the gloves in defense of his teammate..
The second period was a bit of a chess game, with both goaltenders putting up strong performances. The Senators were up on their skates a bit more in the first part of this period, but Lindgren and the Rocket defense kept them out of the net.
As the game progressed, tensions started to boil over. Whistles were followed by chirping and small scrums. Then, in the third period, as the Senators dealt with what they likely considered bad calls by the officiating, things escalated.
In the midst of a particularly big scrum, Mike Blunden found himself ejected from the game with a roughing minor, a 10-minute misconduct, and a game misconduct. Then Jim O’Brien checked Lindgren into the boards behind the net as he battled for the puck, which sent him to the penalty box as well. Matt Taormina would score on the five-on-three advantage, angering the Belleville bench even further.
After the final horn blew, indicating a 4-0 shutout for Lindgren and his Laval teammates, a huge mess erupted at center ice. Laval equipment was thrown over the glass by Belleville players, and Jeremy Gregoire, Niki Petti, and McCarron all got into the mix. The result? Game misconducts for two Belleville players, and also for Gregoire and McCarron.
The Rocket responded well in this game, and showed the strength and character needed to propel themselves into another tough set of games at home next week, starting with a tilt against the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday.
▲ Adam Cracknell, Matt Taormina, Michael McCarron, Eric Gelinas, Charlie Lindgren
|3 for 6||Power Play||0 for 3|
|AHL Three Stars|
Interviews conducted by Amy Johnson for AHL Report
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