Laval Rocket vs Springfield Thunderbirds Game Recap: Line-up, Score, Game Report, Statistics, Highlights, Three Stars, Post-Game, Interviews, AHL, Rocket Sports Media
FINAL – OT | Eastern Conference Final – Game 1 | Saturday, June 4, 2022
Springfield leads series 1-0
|MassMutual Center, Springfield, MA|
Rocket LineupForward lines
Rafael Harvey-Pinard – Jean-Sebastien Dea – Jesse Ylonen
Brandon Gignac – Cedric Paquette – Alex Belzile
Gabriel Bourque – Peter Abbandonato – Danick Martel
Lucas Condotta – Nate Schnarr – Joel TeasdaleDefense 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, Joshua RoyInjuries
Lukas Vejdemo (lower body), Mattias Norlinder (upper body)
Game Report written by Amy Johnson
The Laval Rocket, after more than a week off for rest and practice, finally took to the ice again on Saturday night to kick off their Eastern Conference Final series against the Springfield Thunderbirds.
With Springfield holding home-ice advantage, the Rocket find themselves on the road this weekend, with games one and two taking place on back-to-back nights less than 24 hours apart. The Thunderbirds finished the regular season seventh-overall in league standings, and a series against a team who is undefeated in the Calder Cup Playoffs so far will be a tough task for the Rocket.
A few familiar faces will be seen in the opposition in this series, with goaltender Charlie Lindgren and forwards Will Bitten and Matthew Peca all on the Springfield roster.
The opening three or four minutes of the game were very stop-and-go, as both teams seemed to need some time to shake off the excitement of starting the series. Laval then took the first penalty of the night when Cedric Paquette was whistled for tripping, but successfully killed it off.
Springfield pressured the Rocket right away, and got quite a few good looks at Cayden Primeau in net. The Thunderbirds outpaced the Rocket through the period, with crisp passing, and good puck retrieval.
Laval found their legs a bit more in the final five minutes of the frame, getting a few shots on Joel Hofer, but nothing could get through and the period ended with a 0-0 score.
The Rocket flipped the script in the middle frame, coming out with some obvious adjustments in play and making it much more difficult for the Thunderbirds to maintain control of the puck. Laval looked much stronger on the puck and spent a good amount of time in the offensive zone, although Hofer still wasn’t giving them much to work with.
At about the midway point of the frame, Springfield got some life when they had an extended shift with lots of good chances on Primeau, but the Rocket netminder came up with some big saves to keep the game scoreless.
However, Joel Teasdale was found guilty of slashing in the midst of all that, and the Rocket had another penalty to kill off.
With just under five minutes left in the period, the Rocket finally opened the scoring for the series with a breakaway goal by former Springfield forward Danick Martel.
Springfield had their chances, and in face outshot the Rocket in this period, but couldn’t find the finish to bury an equalizer. Instead they found themselves shorthanded with 20 seconds left in the period, which gave Laval a lengthy power play to begin the third period.
Laval continued to play with the upper hand in the third period, clogging up the neutral zone and making it difficult for Springfield to get much penetration into the zone. For his part, Primeau also frustrated the Thunderbirds as he made a number of key saves and didn’t give them much in the way of second chances.
As time ticked down, it really began to look like Laval might take the first game in shutout style, but with just 2:50 left in regulation, Brady Lyle fired a long shot from the point that changed directions on its way to the net and tied the game.
Then, with 1:15 left in the game, Alex Belzile took a terrible penalty as he elbowed an opposing player up high, who was nowhere near the puck. The Thunderbirds began overtime with 45 seconds left on the power play, but once again the Rocket were able to kill off the penalty.
Midway through the overtime period, Springfield was looking very out-of-sorts, and struggling to exit their own zone. Just as the Thunderbirds were desperately trying to make a change, Matthew Kessel and Peca made their way into the Rocket’s zone. Kessel smoothly made a cross-ice pass to the former Rocket forward, who made no mistake and took game one for Springfield.
Laval and Springfield don’t have long to contemplate the highs and lows of this game, as their next matchup takes place on Sunday at 5:00 pm.
Be sure to scroll down to hear post-game interviews with Rafael Harvey-Pinard, Martel, Brandon Gignac, and Houle, as well as Peca and Springfield head coach Drew Bannister, by the AHL Report team and other members of the media.
Plus / Minus
▲ Cayden Primeau, Brandon Gignac, Jesse Ylonen
▼ Alex Belzile, Cedric Paquette, Lucas Condotta
|0 for 1||Power Play||0 for 3|
Stars of the Game
|AHL Official Three Stars|
What Did They Say?
Rafael Harvey Pinard
Matthew Peca (Forward, Springfield)
Drew Bannister (Head Coach, Springfield)
Post-game interview conducted for The AHL Report tonight by Amy Johnson
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