Laval Rocket vs Syracuse Crunch Game Recap: Line-up, Score, Game Report, Statistics, Highlights, Three Stars, Post-Game, Interviews, AHL, Rocket Sports Media
FINAL – OT | North Division Semifinal – Game 5 | Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Laval wins series 3-2
|Upstate Medical University Arena, Syracuse, NY|
Rocket LineupForward lines
Rafael Harvey-Pinard – Jean-Sebastien Dea – Jesse Ylonen
Brandon Gignac – Cedric Paquette – Alex Belzile
Gabriel Bourque – Peter Abbandonato – Danick Martel
Kevin Roy – Mattias Norlinder (7th defenseman) – Joel TeasdaleDefense pairings
Xavier Ouellet – Louie Belpedio
Corey Schueneman – Tobie Paquette-Bisson
Sami Niku – Tory DelloGoaltenders
Cayden Primeau – Kevin PoulinScratches
Olivier Galipeau, Terrance Amorosa, Nicolas Mattinen, Owen Savory, Cameron Hillis, Gabriel Mollott-Hill, Lucas Condotta, Kevin Roy, Alexandre Fortin, Emil Heineman, Justin Ducharme, Max Kaufman,Injuries
Gianni Fairbrother (undisclosed), Lukas Vejdemo (lower body), Nate Schnarr (DTD)
Game Report written by Amy Johnson
The Laval Rocket had a prime opportunity to win the North Division semifinal series against the Syracuse Crunch when they hosted their opponents twice at Place Bell last week. The Rocket won on Thursday, but were blanked 3-0 by Syracuse on Saturday, which forced a fifth and final game in the series to determine a winner.
With the elimination game taking place in New York, the Crunch re-established home-ice advantage, and the Rocket would have to find a way to win another game on the road in order to advance.
Cayden Primeau got his fourth consecutive start in net, but at the other end of the ice, it was expected that rookie Hugo Alnefelt would take up residence in the crease after starting goaltender Max Lagace left Saturday’s game with a lower-body injury midway through the opening period. In true playoff-gamesmanship style, however, Benoit Groulx surprised everyone when Lagace was the one to lead the team onto the ice for warmups.
Despite the surprise in the netminder they’d be facing, the Rocket had to remain focused on the task at hand. Syracuse controlled most of the pace and zone possession in the opening five or six minutes of the period, and Primeau had to be ready early on. For his part, Lagace didn’t seem to be suffering any ill-effects in the couple of early saves he needed to make.
P.C. Labrie made hard contact with Danick Martel near the Syracuse bench when he laid a big, but clean, open-ice hit on the Laval forward. Martel stayed down for a few minutes, was eventually helped up by the medical staff, and skated on his own down the tunnel to the dressing room.
Although Martel returned to the game later in the period, that’s where the good news ended for Laval in this frame. The Rocket were given the first, and only, power play of the period which Ryan Jones was whistled for high-sticking. While on the man-advantage, however, Jean-Sebastien Dea‘s pass was picked off by Anthony Richard. The Syracuse forward, who has five points in the four games against Laval, took off on a breakaway and buried the puck behind Primeau.
The Rocket still struggled in the opening minutes of the second period to gain any offensive zone presence, taking almost five minutes to register their first shot on goal in the frame.
As the period wore on, however, Laval seemed to find their legs and managed to take a few consecutive shifts of better play and passing. That’s when Alex Barre-Boulet fed the puck up ice to a teammate who tossed it on net. It bounced off of Primeau and hit defenseman Jones as he advanced on the crease, and the puck deflected into the Laval net.
Frank Hora tripped up a Laval skater as Martel and Brandon Gignac tore up the ice on a partial breakaway, and the Rocket were given their second power play of the night. Louie Belpedio blasted the puck from the point halfway through the man-advantage, and Alex Belzile was there to deflect it past Lagace.
This was a much better period for Laval than the previous 40 minutes of play. They came out strong on the puck and forecheck, and outshot the Crunch 14-8 in the frame. For their part, Syracuse looked a bit lethargic at times, and had difficulty clearing the puck out of their zone.
Both goaltenders had some pretty momentous saves throughout the period, and it was beginning to look more and more as if Laval’s season would come to an end when the horn sounded at the end of the period.
But with Primeau on the bench for the extra attacker, the Rocket took advantage of Syracuse’s inability to clear the zone, and Cedric Paquette tied the game with just 38 seconds left on the clock.
It was tight hockey in the overtime minutes, and Syracuse was awarded their first power play of the night in OT. Charles Hudon had a couple of prime scoring chances, but Primeau came up with the saves. As the Crunch continued to have trouble clearing their zone, the Rocket created traffic in front of the net and Gabriel Bourque scored the game- and series-winning goal for Laval.
With the Rocket winning the series, they now must wait to find out who their opponent will be in the North Division Final: the Utica Comets or the Rochester Americans. That series is currently tied 2-2 and the teams will play a decisive game five on Thursday.
If Utica wins the series, they will have home-ice advantage, but the Rocket will hold home-ice advantage if Rochester is their opponent. Either way, the series will likely begin on Sunday.
Plus / Minus
▲ Gabriel Bourque, Cedric Paquette, Cayden Primeau
▼ Danick Martel, Brandon Gignac
|1 for 2||Power Play||0 for 1|
Stars of the Game
|AHL Official Three Stars|
|Video highlights will be uploaded when available|
What Did They Say?
Post-game interviews not available for tonight’s road game
|Follow @TheAHLReport on Twitter|
Follow @theAHLReport on Twitter