Matthew Peca – Michael McCarron – Riley Barber
Dale Weise – Ryan Poehling – Kevin Lynch
Alexandre Alain – Lukas Vejdemo – Joe Cox
Michael Pezzetta – Jake Evans – Antoine Waked
Karl Alzner – Josh Brook
Ryan Culkin – Christian Folin
Otto Laskinen – Maxim Lamarche
Cayden Primeau – Charlie Lindgren
David Sklenicka, Nikita Jevpalovs
William Pelletier (undisclosed), Phil Varone (wrist), Xavier Ouellet (lower body), Evan McEneny (lower body), Alex Belzile (upper body), Noah Juulsen (upper body)
For the first time in almost a year and a half, the Laval Rocket departed from Syracuse with a win in their back pocket on Friday night, getting them back in the win column. Saturday night they wrapped up their three-game road trip with a trip to Springfield to take on the Thunderbirds.
With Gustav Olofsson called up to Montreal, and Noah Juulsen still not feeling well, Ryan Culkin drew into the lineup for the first time this season. Culkin is on recall from the ECHL’s Maine Mariners. Cayden Primeau took up residence between the pipes for Laval, with Sam Montembeault at the other end of the ice for Springfield.
The opening period was a bit back and forth as, for the first few minutes, Springfield controlled the puck and pace of the game and quickly put up seven shots on Primeau. But then, on the first power play of the game, Otto Leskinen fired a big shot from the point which was deflected by Dale Weise and then Michael McCarron to put the puck in the net and give Laval a 1-0 lead.
After the Rocket took some time pressuring and dictating play, it was the Thunderbirds’ turn to heat up and even things out…including on the scoreboard. Riley Stillman gained the zone and ripped a quick wrister from the slot which bounced off a body on its way to the net and went sailing past Primeau.
The penalty boxes were busy in the second period as both teams were called for a number of minor infractions. But it was Springfield’s power play units who were successful in converting those man-advantages into goals.
First, Tommy Cross shot a wrister from the circle during a five-on-three advantage to give the Thunderbirds their first lead of the game. And although they weren’t able to score on the remaining five-on-four power play, they got another opportunity toward the end of the period when Maxim Lamarche was sent off for slashing. This time it was former Canadiens prospect Daniel Audette who banged home a rebound into a gaping corner of the net to give his team a two-goal lead, 3-1, over Laval.
The Rocket came out firing on all cylinders in the third period, potting two quick goals to pull even with Springfield at 3-3. First, Ryan Poehling shot the puck from below the goal line and banked it off the back of Samuel Montembeault and into the net. Immediately following that, on a power play, Matthew Peca shot home the equalizer.
But the Thunderbirds were not going to go away quietly, and they surged back as the period wore on. Owen Tippett was well-positioned near the crease to scoop up a loose puck and fire it into mesh on a power play, Stillman sniped his second of the game from the far circle, and Aleksi Saarela potted an empty-netter to put the Rocket away 6-3.
This wasn’t a great road trip for Laval, as they dropped two out of three games, gave up a lot of goals, and the penalty kill struggled. The team now heads home for one game on Tuesday night before heading back on the road to revisit Syracuse and Springfield again next weekend.
Plus / Minus
▲ Matthew Peca, Ryan Poehling
▼ Cayden Primeau, Dale Weise, Michael Pezzetta