|FINAL | 2017-18 Season, Game 67 | Saturday March 24, 2018
Place Bell, Laval, QC
Forward lines and defense pairings:
[one_half]Rychel – Cracknell – Terry
[one_half_last]Austin – Taormina
Daniel Audette (lower body), Stefan Leblanc (day to day), Antoine Waked (upper body), Jeremiah Addison, Rob Hamilton, Charlie Lindgren
The Rocket picked up Saturday afternoon’s matinee matchup against the Charlotte Checkers seemingly in the same place they left off on Friday night: down in the shot count, and racking up goals against.
Laval took more than six minutes into the game before they registered a shot on goal, with the visitors looking fresh and forechecking hard. Aleksi Saarela continued his goal-scoring prowess by putting his team on the board first at the end of a smooth tic-tac-toe play.
In the first two periods netminder Zach Fucale kept his team in the hunt, making some big saves at crucial moments against a Charlotte team that kept peppering the Laval goaltender. Again the Rocket found themselves being outshot 8-1 almost ten minutes into the middle frame.
Then Greg McKegg doubled the Checkers’ tally with a big wrister from the perimeter that found its way past Fucale. Minutes later, Andrew Poturalski fired a wrister of his own that caught twine, and suddenly the Rocket found themselves down by three goals. It also meant that, including the comeback that Charlotte had mounted the night before, the visiting team had put up six unanswered goals in Place Bell.
With just 15 seconds left in the period, Jeremy Gregoire and Anthony Beauregard connected for what would have been a beautiful goal as they drove the net, but Alex Nedeljkovic stopped them just short.
Poturalski potted another one just over a minute into the third period when he scooped up his own rebound and buried the puck in an open net before Fucale could come across to the post.
Gregoire continued his hard work, however, and was finally rewarded with a goal when Simon Bourque blasted a shot from the point and Gregoire danced through the paint to push the puck past Nedeljkovic.
Sareela wasn’t done with his night, though, and managed to get a power play goal to restore Charlotte’s three-goal lead. Kerby Rychel finished off a deep-angled shot off a nice cross-ice pass by Chris Terry to add to Laval’s tally, and then Adam Cracknell found the back of the net on a late power play, but the strong effort by the top line was too late for a full comeback.
The weekend isn’t over for the Laval Rocket, as they now travel to Belleville for another afternoon matinee – this time against their neighbors in Ontario, the Senators.
▲ Jeremy Gregoire, Chris Terry, Matt Taormina, Zachary Fucale
|1 for 2||Power Play||1 for 2|
|AHL Three Stars|
Interviews conducted by Amy Johnson for AHL Report
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