|FINAL | 2017-18 Season, Game 40 | Friday January 12, 2018
Place Bell, Laval, QC
Forward lines and defense pairings:
[one_half]Audette – Cracknell – Scherbak
[one_half_last]Gelinas – Taormina
Simon Bourque, Charlie Lindgren
Jeremy Gregoire (day-to-day), Chris Terry (lower body), Jeremiah Addison (shoulder)
Wednesday night’s 5-1 loss against the Utica Comets was not a stellar night for the Laval Rocket. Granted, some members of the team were either recovering from an illness or were out of the lineup due to illness which could have played a factor in the energy and lack of offensive production for the 60 minutes of gameplay.
But the team has had two days to regroup since then, and took the ice at Place Bell tonight to face off against the Hartford Wolf Pack. It would be the first meeting of the two clubs since Peter Holland was traded for Adam Cracknell.
Cracknell didn’t waste any time stamping his mark on this game against his former team, as he came out on the first shift and put a backhander past goaltender Marek Mazanec in less than 30 seconds to give Laval an early 1-0 lead.
The first half of the period seemed to fly by, with both teams keeping a good pace and few whistles. The Rocket seemed to have a slight upper hand in offensive pressure, and then the Wolf Pack were hit with two simultaneous minor penalties. Laval was rewarded with two minutes of a five-on-three advantage.
When the penalties were about to expire, after not getting many quality shots on net with their primary power play sniper out with an injury, Eric Gelinas sniped one home from the circle to make it 2-0 for the home team.
As the Wolf Pack began to surge near the end of the period, Zach Fucale made a few big saves to keep his team steady with a two-goal lead. Thomas Ebbing then took the Rocket’s first penalty of the game but Cracknell responded on the penalty kill with a slick shorthanded goal to extend the Laval lead to 3-0 at first intermission.
The second period started the same as the first, but for the other team. Hartford came out blazing a scored their first goal of the game just over 30 seconds into the frame. Again there were few whistles for the first half of the period, and both teams pushed the pace as the minutes ticked by. Fucale was called on numerous times to make some big saves.
Noah Juulsen made his presence felt when he laid a monstrous hit on Ryan Sproul along the boards to which the Wolf Pack players took exception and resulted in a big scrum. Hartford was the only team assessed a penalty, however, and the Rocket headed to the power play only to have Cracknell take a slashing penalty moments later.
Sproul then capitalized on the power play after he exited the penalty box with an easy goal from the far side of the faceoff circle. But the Rocket answered minutes later with a power play goal of their own from Matt Taormina, who took a perfect no-look pass from Nikita Scherbak to restore Laval’s two-goal lead.
Relatively speaking, the third period was uneventful. Fucale was called upon to make a few more highlight-reel saves, and the struggling Laval penalty kill came up huge on a two-minute five-on-three kill to maintain their lead. Despite being outshot 29-20 by Hartford, the Rocket performed well and showed tenacity throughout the game.
The team gets right back at it on home ice tomorrow afternoon for a matinee showdown against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
▲ Markus Eisenschmid, Adam Cracknell, Daniel Audette, Nikita Scherbak
|2 for 4||Power Play||1 for 5|
|AHL Three Stars|
Interviews conducted by Amy Johnson for AHL Report
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