Laval Rocket vs Springfield Thunderbirds Game Recap: Line-up, Score, Game Report, Statistics, Highlights, Three Stars, Post-Game, Interviews, AHL, Rocket Sports Media
FINAL | Eastern Conference Final – Game 3 | Wednesday, June 8, 2022
Springfield leads series 2-1
|Place Bell, Laval, QC|
Rocket LineupForward lines
Rafael Harvey-Pinard – Brandon Gignac – Jesse Ylonen
Danick Martel – Jean-Sebastien Dea – Alex Belzile
Joshua Roy – Cedric Paquette – Joel Teasdale
Lucas Condotta – Peter Abbandonato – Nate SchnarrDefense pairings
Xavier Ouellet – Louie Belpedio
Corey Schueneman – Tobie Paquette-Bisson
Sami Niku – Tory DelloGoaltenders
Cayden Primeau – Kevin PoulinScratches
Olivier Galipeau, Terrance Amorosa, Nicolas Mattinen, Owen Savory, Cameron Hillis, Kevin Roy, Riley Kidney, Gianni Fairbrother, Jean-Christophe BeaudinInjuries
Lukas Vejdemo (lower body), Mattias Norlinder (upper body)
Game Report written by Amy Johnson
With the Eastern Conference Final series tied at 1-1, thanks to a commanding victory on the road by Laval on Sunday, the teams shifted locales to Quebec and the home crowd at Place Bell. “They’re gonna be surprised, I can tell you that right now. They think it’s gonna be loud, but they don’t think it’s going to be this loud,” said head coach Jean-Francois Houle this morning, when our AHL Report team asked him how he predicts Springfield will handle the atmosphere in Laval.
For his roster, Houle would continue to rely on Cayden Primeau in net, as he’s done since game two of their first series against Syracuse. In addition, with Gabriel Bourque not able to play due to injury, Joshua Roy drew into the lineup to make his professional hockey debut.
The Rocket found themselves in a pinch early in the game when Corey Schueneman was whistled for tripping less than two minutes after puck drop. Laval had a successful power play, however, even with Springfield getting quite a few pucks on Primeau throughout the power play.
Then Houle’s team did exactly what they’ve done in each game this series: they scored first. Sami Niku skated into the zone up and dished a clean centering pass to Rafael Harvey-Pinard who snapped the puck past Joel Hofer.
The lead didn’t last long, however, after Schueneman turned the puck over a few minutes later in an attempt to clear the zone. Springfield intercepted the puck at the blue line, and Nathan Todd fired a quick shot in close to beat Primeau.
Things started to get more and more physical as both teams seemed to get agitated very easily as the period wore on. More scrums after whistles, harder checks, and a pileup in the Laval net all attributed to the rising tensions. Springfield took a penalty with about three minutes left in the period, but Laval wasn’t able to convert this second man-advantage opportunity of the night.
With under a minute left before intermission, however, Nate Schnarr took a four-minute high-sticking penalty that would leave the Thunderbirds with more than three minutes of power play time to begin the second period.
The Thunderbirds ended up with almost five full minutes of power play time to begin the middle frame, as Schueneman took a delay-of-game penalty with the double minor still on the clock. Laval’s penalty killers took care of business, though, and got the team through a minutes of five-on-three play, and the remainder of the last power play to come out on the other side unscathed.
But the penalties didn’t stop there, and the Rocket penalty killers spent more than seven minutes during the period trying to stifle the Springfield power play.
Even though the Rocket got quite a boost from all of those success penalty kills, it was Springfield who lit the lamp next. Dakota Joshua fed the puck into the slow from below the goal line, and Hugh McGing quickly flipped it up and into the Laval net.
Not long after that, former Habs prospect Will Bitten added to the Thunderbirds’ tally when he banged in a loose puck at the side of the net to give Springfield a 3-1 lead. Before the period ended, however, Schueneman scored his first goal of the postseason with a quick wrister from the circle to pull Laval within one goal of their opponents.
Bitten struck again just 35 seconds into the third period, when he parked himself in front of the net and deflected Mackenzie MacEachern‘s shot to restore Springfield’s two-goal lead.
Then the penalty trouble fell to the Thunderbirds, as they found themselves on the short end of an extended five-on-three penalty kill, but the Rocket couldn’t convert on either power play. However, Springfield’s good fortune continued as Bitten completed a hat trick while shorthanded, to give his team a 5-2 lead.
Then things really turned ugly. Alex Belzile and Dakota Joshua got into a scuffle after a hit on Roy, and both ended up leaving the game with 10-minute misconducts. Belzile was given an extra minor for roughing.
Soon after Bitten scored his fourth (yes, FOURTH) goal of the night, an empty-netter off a Laval turnover, Teasdale followed up with a roughing penalty of his own, and then Danick Martel and Tyler Tucker dropped the gloves and also earned themselves a set of misconducts. Laval had the last laugh when Schnarr lit the lamp with just 10 seconds remaining.
Laval will have an optional skate on Thursday morning, before Friday night’s rematch for game four of the series. Now down 2-1 to Springfield, they’ll be looking to even things up again.
Be sure to scroll down to hear post-game interviews with Belzile, Harvey-Pinard, Roy and Houle, as well as Bitten, MacEachern, and Springfield’s head coach Drew Bannister, by the AHL Report team and other members of the media.
Plus / Minus
▲ Sami Niku, Nate Schnarr
▼ Corey Schueneman, Alex Belzile, Danick Martel
|0 for 4||Power Play||0 for 8|
Stars of the Game
|AHL Official Three Stars|
What Did They Say?
Will Bitten (Forward, Springfield)
Audio to be uploaded soon
Mackenzie MacEachern (Forward, Springfield)
Audio to be uploaded soon
Drew Bannister (Head Coach, Springfield)
Audio to be uploaded soon
Post-game interviews conducted for The AHL Report tonight by Chris G and Amy Johnson
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