|FINAL | 2017-18 Season, Game 29 | Sunday December 17, 2017
Bojangles’ Coliseum, Charlotte, NC
Forward lines and defense pairings:
[one_half]Terry – McCarron – Scherbak
[one_half_last]Taormina – Lernout
Simon Bourque, Willie Corrin, David Broll, Zach Fucale
Jeremiah Addison (shoulder)
It seems like the same story gets repeated over and over these days for the Laval Rocket. On Saturday night they played an admirable, solid game against the Charlotte Checkers. They stayed within one goal of them the entire night, and matched their intensity and speed quite well. The inability to put the puck past Jeremy Smith seemed to be the only difference in the game.
Just a little more than 12 hours after the final whistle in that game, the two teams were back on the ice for an early afternoon matinee. This time, Alex Nedeljkovic was in the crease for Charlotte, and the game seemed to pick up with its matched, steady style as the night before.
Noah Juulsen earned his first professional point with a shot deflected up and over Nedeljkovic, which was helped in by Michael McCarron. During the celebration, however, McCarron lifted his stick overhead, catching the Charlotte netminder in the face. He went off for repairs and Smith was back in the crease for the home team.
Then, as has happened so many times before, the Laval team lost its discipline and allowed three power play goals to get past Charlie Lindgren in about the last three minutes of the period. It was a horrible end-of-period collapse that would leave the visitors with a big hole to climb out of in the final 40 minutes.
The second period began with four-on-four hockey after Niki Petti and Brenden Kichton both received roughing penalties for a scrum at the end of the first period. The Rocket continued to keep their penalty killers on the ice far too often as they accrued three more minor penalties throughout the period.
However it was the Laval power play which came up big in this frame, when Nikita Scherbak wristed the puck past Smith on the man advantage to bring the score within one goal.
For the final period, fans on both sides were on a veritable roller coaster. First, Juulsen gets the puck past Smith in the first 15 seconds of the period, with Jordan Boucher following close on his heels to put the Rocket up 4-3 early in the frame.
Following Boucher’s goal, however, things got a bit chippy after the whistle and McCarron found himself with a roughing minor which led to Lucas Wallmark scoring on the ensuing power play to tie the game again at 4-4.
A fortunate five-on-three opportunity just a short time later was all the invitation Scherbak needed to score his second goal of the game to put the Rocket back on top. But a bit of lazy defense by Eric Gelinas allowed Warren Foegele to come in hard to the net and even the score at 5-5.
Laval was doing everything they could to maintain possession and retake the lead, and had a perfect opportunity to do so when Charlotte took a delay of game penalty and gave the visiting team a power play. But Clark Bishop got a breakaway, during which Matt Taormina was slow to catch up to, and potted a shorthanded goal to put the Checkers up 6-5.
Despite a hard effort in the last minutes to get the puck past the Charlotte netminder, an empty netter by Foegele sealed the victory for the Checkers and yet another loss for Laval.
The Rocket have only won one game in their last twelve outings, and now have a long journey back to Quebec to ponder where things went wrong. They’re back on Place Bell ice for a three-game home stand starting on Wednesday.
▲ Chris Terry, Michael McCarron, Nikita Scherbak, Noah Juulsen
▼ Eric Gelinas, Matt Taormina, Antoine Waked, Kyle Baun
|2 for 5||Power Play||4 for 7|
|AHL Three Stars|
Interviews conducted by Amy Johnson for AHL Report
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