Charles Hudon – Jake Evans – Joe Cox
Yannick Veilleux – Michael McCarron – Dale Weise
Alexandre Alain – Kevin Lynch – Ralph Cuddemi
Hayden Verbeek – Nikita Jevpalovs – Antoine Waked
Gustav Olofsson – Xavier Ouellet
Otto Leskinen – Evan McEneny
Karl Alzner – Josh Brook
Keith Kinkaid – Cayden Primeau
James Phelan, Michael Pezzetta, Maxim Lamarche, William Pelletier
Phil Varone (wrist), Noah Juulsen (upper body), Alex Belzile (pectoral surgery)
For the last time in 2019, the Rocket took the ice in a road game against their most-faced division rival, the Belleville Senators. The matinee game didn’t reveal any big changes to Joel Bouchard‘s lineup, and Keith Kinkaid was given the start in net.
The first period was relatively calm, for a meeting between these two teams, with only a few penalties being assessed, and no real aggressive play. Jake Evans lit the lamp first with a slick shorthanded goal as he got Belleville netminder Joey Daccord to go down early and deked around him to dish the puck into an open net.
Laval controlled the puck for most of the period, and also managed to kill off two penalties successfully. They had the opportunity to start the second period on the man advantage, but couldn’t convert it. However the Senators gave the Rocket plenty of chances to score on the power play in the period, and finally Xavier Ouellet was able to capitalize on it with a blast from the point to make it 2-0 for Laval.
Charles Hudon continued the scoring for the Rocket early in the third period as he found the back of the net on another power play goal. Just when it was looking like Laval had this game in the bag, Belleville pushed back.
Josh Norris struck first to get the Senators on the board just a few minutes after Hudon’s goal. Then Logan Brown scored his fourth of the season as he banged in a rebound to bring Belleville within a goal, after Troy Mann pulled his goaltender with more than three minutes remaining.
With just 49 seconds left in regulation, Evan McEneny took a very ill-timed tripping penalty and put the Rocket two men down with the Belleville goaltender still pulled. Norris created chaos around the crease and managed to get the puck across the line with just 21 seconds left in the game.
After giving up a three-goal lead in the third period, the Rocket looked to right the ship in overtime, and Kinkaid has his net posts to thank for saving a couple of dangerous shot attempts by the Senators. But he stood tall in the shootout, denying all of the home team’s attempts, and Dale Weise scored the lone goal to give Laval the victory.
The Rocket end the calendar year with a victory, but still find themselves out of a playoff position. They’ll head back to Quebec to prepare for this weekend’s two home games against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Syracuse Crunch.
Plus / Minus
▲ Jake Evans, Keith Kinkaid, Joe Cox
▼ Xavier Ouellet, Evan McEneny