Laval Rocket vs Syracuse Crunch Game Recap: Line-up, Score, Game Report, Statistics, Highlights, Three Stars, Post-Game, Interviews, AHL, Rocket Sports Media
|FINAL | Game 37, Away Game 19 | Friday, February 18, 2022|
|Upstate Medical University Arena, Syracuse, NY|
Rocket LineupForward lines
Joel Teasdale – Jean-Sebastien Dea – Jesse Ylonen
Rafael Harvey-Pinard – Peter Abbandonato – Shawn St. Amant
Alexandre Fortin – Danick Martel – Devante Smith-Pelly
Cedric Desruisseaux – Cam Hillis – Mathew SantosDefense pairings
Xavier Ouellet – Louie Belpedio
Sami Niku – Tory Dello
Tobie Paquette-Bisson – Carl NeillGoaltenders
Cayden Primeau – Michael McNivenScratches
Louis-Philip Guindon, Kevin Poulin, Josh Brook, Kevin Roy, Gabriel Bourque, Terrance Amorosa, Justin DucharmeInjuries
Brandon Gignac (upper-body injury), Lukas Vejdemo (upper-body injury), Alex Belzile (lower-body injury), Gianni Fairbrother (upper-body injury), Jean-Christophe Beaudin (DTD)
Game Report written by Amy Johnson
It’s been another week filled with disruptions and surprises for the Laval Rocket, thanks to the ongoing pandemic. On Tuesday, just prior to the team departing for Ontario for a Wednesday night meeting with the Belleville Senators, four Laval players and one staff member were placed on the COVID-19 protocol list. Those five positive cases forced the AHL to postpone that game against the Senators.
With ongoing daily test results taking time to be processed, and severe weather on the route from Quebec to New York, the team was then forced to delay departure to Syracuse until Friday, with a roster now down a total of seven players and two staff members due to COVID. The team bus departed at noon on game day and delivered the Rocket directly to the arena, just in time to take on the Crunch for the fourth time in nine days after sweeping them in a three-game series at Place Bell last week.
It also meant that head coach Jean-Francois Houle was forced to get creative with his lineup once again. With Kevin Poulin reportedly out with COVID, Cayden Primeau got the start in net, with newly-reassigned Michael McNiven backing him up.
Additionally, the Rocket signed forward Mathew Santos to a PTO earlier in the day. A number of player recalls from Trois-Rivieres (ECHL) also took place earlier in the week, and forward Cedric Desruisseaux would find himself in the lineup to make his AHL debut.
Houle has spoken quite often this season about the need for his team to get a good start and not chase the game night after night. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case on this night.
After a stop-and-go opening five minutes, Crunch forward Remi Elie blasted a one-timer from the high slot that beat Primeau cleanly.
A few minutes later, Charles Hudon scored his 17th goal of the season when he skated through the crease in traffic and banged in his own rebound. Another former forward from the Canadiens organization, captain Gabriel Dumont, was the next to light the lamp with a laser wrister from the far circle.
Primeau did manage a couple of key saves in the period, particularly some point-blank shots that he turned aside, but the Rocket team overall seemed to struggle to get their footing.
Laval found themselves shorthanded for the second time in the game very early in the middle frame, but the penalty killers were able to kill it off once again.
Shortly after, the ice began to tilt in the Rocket’s direction and Shawn St. Amant potted his first AHL goal of the season when he pushed the puck through Hugo Alnefelt‘s pads to put Laval on the board.
Then it was Laval’s turn on the man advantage, after Andrej Sustr took an interference penalty. The Crunch had a shorthanded breakaway attempt, but didn’t put the puck in the Laval net – although the Rocket also didn’t score on the power play.
Special teams turned out to be the key in this period, as Syracuse then took three penalties in roughly the last two minutes of the period. With just one second left in the first five-on-three advantage, and eight seconds remaining in the frame, Jesse Ylonen scored a pivotal power play goal.
The Rocket started the third with 1:07 of five-on-three power play time to work with, but this time it was the Syracuse penalty killers who came up strong.
This final period of play was evenly played throughout a majority of the 20 minutes, but then Rafael Harvey-Pinard took a hooking penalty late in the period. Within 30 seconds of their power play, Cole Koepke cleaned up a loose puck in close to extend the Syracuse lead 4-2.
With the goaltender pulled for an extra attacker more than four minutes before the end of the period, Darren Raddysh scored his first of the season with an empty-netter to put the game out of reach for the Rocket.
The Rocket now continue their road trip by visiting another New York team, the Rochester Americans, on Sunday afternoon before heading to Ontario for a two-game stint against the Toronto Marlies next week.
Be sure to scroll down to hear post-game interviews with Xavier Ouellet, St. Amant, and Houle by the AHL Report team and other members of the media.
Plus / Minus
▲ Jesse Ylonen, Tory Dello, Shawn St. Amant
▼ Xavier Ouellet, Devante Smith-Pelly, Cedric Desruisseaux
|1 for 4||Power Play||1 for 4|
Stars of the Game
|AHL Official Three Stars|
What Did They Say?
Shawn St. Amant
Post-game interviews conducted tonight for the AHL Report by Amy Johnson
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