|FINAL | 2018-19 Season, Game 27 | Wednesday December 12, 2018
Place Bell, Laval, QC
Forward lines and defense pairings:
[one_half]Belzile – McCarron – Alain
[one_half_last]Mete – Alzner
David Sklenicka, Antoine Waked, Phelix Martineau
Gustav Olofsson (shoulder), Cale Fleury (day-to-day), Charlie Lindgren (lower body), Lukas Vejdemo (upper body)
The last time the Belleville Senators and Laval Rocket met was just five days ago on Friday night in Ontario. It was a game the Rocket likely wanted to forget, as the Senators dominated them in a 7-2 victory that saw Laval go 0-for-3 on the power play and allow goals on each of Belleville’s two man-advantage opportunities.
On this night, with a blue line consisting of five defenseman who combine for more than 1200 NHL games played, the home team looked to give the visiting Sens a taste of their own medicine. Xavier Ouellet, having cleared waivers from Montreal last week, and recent ECHL call-up Morgan Adams-Moisan both made their Rocket debut in the game.
For the opening 20 minutes of play, the two teams played rather tentatively and with a deliberate, almost plodding pace. Faceoffs seemed to take longer than usual and whistle after whistle stopped any momentum that was generated.
Belleville controlled the shot clock early on, and it wasn’t until the last few minutes of the frame that Laval bypassed the visiting team in shots on goal. Michael McNiven looked sharp in the period, coming up with a couple of clutch saves.
The second period was equally defensive in play, but Laval controlled the puck quite often and outshot the Senators 11-3 in the frame. Nikita Jevpalovs scored the first goal of the game with just over six minutes left before intermission when he backhanded the puck around Marcus Hogberg as Jevpalovs spun around and fell down in front of the crease.
Slow pace continued in the final frame, but Laval found a way to extend their lead when Hunter Shinkaruk patiently skated into the slot and sent a wrister flying past Hogberg to make it 2-0 for the Rocket.
Belleville, however, took their turn to get shots on McNiven, but the Rocket goaltender stood strong and was just 42 seconds away from recording his first AHL shutout when Andreas Englund fired off a shot from the far circle to put the Senators on the board. Moments later, Alexandre Grenier dished the puck into an empty Belleville net to seal the victory for Laval – their first back-to-back wins since the beginning of November.
Hayden Verbeek was injured in the first period, possibly on a hit by Logan Brown, and did not return to the game.
The Rocket won’t have long to celebrate this win, as they prepare for a touch back-to-back series on Friday and Saturday against the Syracuse Crunch, who currently sit in second place in the North Division.
▲ Michael McNiven, Alexandre Grenier, Victor Mete
▼ Maxim Lamarche, Simon Depres
|0 for 4||Power Play||0 for 3|
|AHL Three Stars|
Interviews conducted by Amy Johnson for AHL Report
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