RECAP | Rocket – Thunderbirds: Two Quick Goals Fuel Laval Comeback Victory

Photo by China Wong | Springfield Thunderbirds

Laval Rocket vs Springfield Thunderbirds Game Recap: Score, Line-up, Game Report, Statistics, Three Stars, Highlights, Social Media

FINAL (OT) | 2018-19 Season, Game 67 | Saturday, March 23, 2019 
MassMutual Center, Springfield, MA




Photo by China Wong | Springfield Thunderbirds


Forward lines and defense pairings: 

[one_half]Audette – Evans – Grenier
Jevpalovs – Vejdemo – Belzile
Kile – Pezzetta – Alain
Roy – Verbeek – Adams-Moisan[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Ouellet – Lernout
Sklenicka – Fleury
Culkin – Lamarche[/one_half_last]



Karl Alzner, T.J. Melancon, Joe Cox, Hunter Shinkaruk, Antoine Waked

Injury List:

Gustav Olofsson (shoulder), Noah Juulsen (eye), Michael McCarron (shoulder)

Game Report

Friday night’s game in Utica is likely one the Laval Rocket would like to forget sooner rather than later. They played in their fourth consecutive shootout and fell 2-1 to the Comets in a game that was lacking on many levels for Laval.

Antoine Waked and Hunter Shinkaruk were banged up in the game and found themselves out of the lineup on Saturday night in Springfield. Marco Roy and Morgan Adams-Moisan replaced them, in addition to Michael McNiven getting the start in net to complete the lineup changes.

The opening period was riddled with penalties, eight in total. Five of those infractions belonged to the Rocket, including three consecutive delay of game penalties by Alex Belzile, Daniel Audette, and Nikita Jevpalovs to end the period. With the Thunderbirds enjoy a five-on-three advantage, they were able to score a power play goal to make it 1-0 over Laval before the first intermission.

Discipline was much more under control in the second period, with each team only taking one penalty in the frame. But before that, Springfield extended their lead with a goal by Jean-Sebastian Dea. Nikita Jevpalovs finally got the Rocket on the board with less than two minutes on the clock as he danced through traffic from the neutral zone, shorthanded, and put the puck past Alex Sakellaropoulos.

Then, with just four seconds left before intermission, Cale Fleury potted a beautiful wrister top shelf into the Springfield net to tie the game and give some life to the Laval bench to start the third.

Not much happened in the third period, as both goaltenders did a good job of keeping the puck out of their respective nets, and both teams clogged shooting lanes. For the fifth straight game, Laval would go to extra minutes – but this time the game would be decided in overtime, not in a shootout. Xavier Ouellet put a final stamp on the game with a goal just 26 seconds into OT to pull out a gutsy comeback win for the Rocket.

After such a dismal game the night before, and a long night of travel, this was a good rebound game for the Rocket as they now head back to Laval where they’ll face off against the Binghamton Devils at Place Bell.


▲    Xavier Ouellet, Nikita Jevpalovs, Michael McNiven

▼    Michael Pezzetta, Daniel Audette, Alex Kile

The Numbers

 Game Statistics 
33 Shots 29
0 for 6 Power Play 1 for 6
12 Penalty Minutes 12
 Scoring Summary
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Rocket (28-27-6-6) 0 2 0 1 3
 Thunderbirds (28-26-8-5) 1 1 0 0 2
Scorers Goalies
  • LAV: Jevpalovs (11), Fleury (9), Ouellet (5)
  • SPR: Melichiori (5), Dea (12)
  • LAV: McNiven (W) 10-9-3-2
  • SPR: Sakellaropoulos (L) 0-0-2-0

Stars of the Game

 AHL Official Three Stars

  1. Xavier Ouellet  LAV 
  2. Jean-Sebastian Dea  SPR
  3. Julian Melchiori  SPR


 Video highlights

What Did They Say?

 Post-game interviews

Interviews conducted by Amy Johnson for AHL Report

Social Media

 Social Media: Follow @TheAHLReport on Twitter

Follow @theAHLReport on Twitter

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