Ryan Poehling – Jake Evans – Riley Barber
Alexandre Alain – Lukas Vejdemo – Joe Cox
Dale Weise – Michael McCarron – Nikita Jevpalovs
Michael Pezzetta – Kevin Lynch – Antoine Waked
Karl Alzner – Josh Brook
Xavier Ouellet – Maxim Lamarche
Gustav Olofsson – Christian Folin
Keith Kinkaid – Charlie Lindgren
Ryan Culkin, Hayden Verbeek
William Pelletier (undisclosed), Phil Varone (wrist), Evan McEneny (lower body), Noah Juulsen (upper body), Alex Belzile (day-to-day)
The Rocket celebrated a much-needed victory on Wednesday night, but the good feelings, unfortunately, wouldn’t last long. They headed back out on the road this weekend to rematch with the Syracuse Crunch and Springfield Thunderbirds.
Friday night the Rocket Sports team joined the Rocket on the road in Syracuse, a night which would mark Keith Kinkaid‘s first return to an AHL crease since 2015. For all intents and purposes, his debut with the Rocket turned out to be a pretty tough one.
Just 19 seconds into the game, Gemel Smith and Ross Colton combined for a quick two-on-one to put the Crunch up 1-0 right out of the gate. Nine minutes later Cameron Gaunce fired off a shot from the left point which redirected off the stick of Michael McCarron and off the cross bar into the net behind Kinkaid.
About a minute after that, Boris Katchouk backhanded a rebound after the Rocket failed to clear a very crowded crease and shore up the loose puck. With about five minutes left in the opening frame, Syracuse took a 4-0 lead over the Rocket when Cory Conacher paired with Chris Mueller on a textbook give-and-go to put the puck in the back of the net.
The second period saw a Laval team with renewed energy, taking away the Crunch forecheck and sustaining a lot of pressure in the offensive zone. Xavier Ouellet scored the first goal for Laval with a wrister to beat Scott Wedgewood. Lukas Vejdemo doubled his team’s tally with a power play when he deflected Riley Barber‘s shot in the slot.
Just when it looked like Laval was giving itself a chance to climb back into the game, the discipline wheels fell off and completely changed the momentum they had gained. Matchups between these two teams are always physical, always high-tension, and usually result in a fair share of scrums or fights. McCarron, Michael Pezzetta, Josh Brook, and others continued that tradition as the Crunch successfully got under the skin of the Rocket and their discipline seemed to completely break down. Poor team decisions were made as tensions bubbled over. Pezzetta would be given a match penalty in the third period for a check to the head of an opponent.
Wedgewood would leave the game early in the third period with what looked like a lower-body injury. Spencer Martin replaced him in net, but Laval couldn’t get a puck past him.
With Laval racking up penalty points, the ice tilted back towards the home team. Conacher scored his second goal of the night on a Crunch power play in the final frame to seal the fate of the Rocket.
The Rocket, and their coach, were visibly unimpressed with their performance after the game. Be sure to listen to our post-game interviews in the audio player below. Laval now heads to Springfield to take on the Thunderbirds Saturday night.
Plus / Minus
▲ Riley Barber, Jake Evans, Lukas Vejdemo
▼ Michael McCarron, Josh Brook, Maxim Lamarche