|FINAL | 2018-19 Season, Game 19 | Wednesday November 21, 2018
Adirondack Bank Center, Utica, NY
Forward lines and defense pairings:
[one_half]Belzile – Evans – Grenier
[one_half_last]Kulak – Lernout
Daniel Audette, David Sklenicka
Gustav Olofsson (shoulder), Cale Fleury (day-to-day)
On Saturday, after suffering a 6-4 loss to Syracuse after holding a two-goal lead and allowing five consecutive goals against, Laval head coach Joel Bouchard told our Rocket Sports Media team that it was “a turning point” for him and his team. He mentioned getting the Rocket back to basics and needing to find ways for his team to focus on playing a full 60 minutes.
Wednesday, the Rocket took the ice in Utica for another physical matchup against the Comets. The team came out strong in the first period, outshooting their opponent 9-2 and avoiding the penalty box completely, but couldn’t find the back of the net. It’s a problem that’s plagued the team since the start of the season, where they seem to shoot consistently at the wrong times, but are hesitant to get shots off when shooting lanes are open or they manage to get in tight in the slot.
The evening was marked by two significant outings for the goaltenders: Charlie Lindgren was in the crease playing his 100th AHL game, and Thatcher Demko made his season debut after suffering a concussion in pre-season. Both goaltenders had strong showings, although Demko didn’t face too many shots that actually looked dangerous.
For the Rocket, they weren’t able to convert any of their five power play opportunities. In fact, the power play continued to look sloppy and unsteady, with players many times not looking organized or sure of what their positioning should be.
Nikita Jevpalovs and Alex Belzile both managed to get pucks past Demko in the second period, but penalty problems cropped up for Laval yet again in the final frame as Lukas Vejdemo, Alexandre Grenier, and Michael Pezzetta all found themselves sitting for two minutes. Pezzetta also tossed the gloves earlier in this game, going toe-to-toe with Dylan Blujus.
But it only took one power play goal late in the game by Evan McEneny to put the Rocket down a goal and leave them desperately scrambling to even the score before the final horn. It was a task too big for them to overcome, handing them their third consecutive loss.
The Rocket will face a big test this weekend as they look to grab four possible points to finish out the road trip in Charlotte against the top-ranked Checkers on Saturday and Sunday.
▲ Charlie Lindgren, Brett Lernout, Brett Kulak
▼ Alexandre Grenier, Ryan Sproul, Adam Plant
|0 for 5||Power Play||1 for 5|
|AHL Three Stars|
|Post-game interview with Joel Bouchard:
Post-game interview with Brett Kulak:
Post-game interview with Brett Lernout:
Post-game interview with Michael Pezzetta:
Interviews conducted by Amy Johnson for AHL Report
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