GAME RECAP | Laval Rocket vs Utica Comets: Line-up, Score, Statistics, Highlights, Post-Game, Interviews, AHL, Three Stars, Rocket Sports Media
FINAL | Play-In Round Game 1 | Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Utica leads best-of-three series 1-0
|Place Bell, Laval, QC|
Rocket LineupForward lines
Rafael Harvey-Pinard – Peter Abbandonato – Anthony Richard
Xavier Simoneau – Lucas Condotta – Jesse Ylonen
Emil Heineman – Brandon Gignac – Pierrick Dube
Gabriel Bourque – Nolan Yaremko – Joel TeasdaleDefense pairings
William Trudeau – Corey Schueneman
Jayden Struble – Olivier Galipeau
Mattias Norlinder – Tory DelloGoaltenders
Cayden Primeau – Kevin PoulinScratches
John Parker-Jones, Frederic Allard, Jakub Dobes, Danick Martel, Riley McKay, Jan Mysak, Mitchell StephensInjuries
Gianni Fairbrother (knee), Otto Leskinen, Madison Bowey, Nicolas Beaudin
Game Report written by Chris G
The Laval Rocket opened the best-of-three game series against the Utica Comets on Wednesday at Place Bell. Laval concluded the regular season with eight wins in the last nine games, while Utica won four of the last six games.
In the regular season, Laval won five of the six matchups against Utica, outscoring them 25-14. Anthony Richard led the team with 10 points in four contests against the Comets.
Brandon Gignac returned to the lineup after missing the last six games due to a lower-body injury. He will replace Mitchell Stephens who suffered an injury in the final moments of Friday’s victory against the Syracuse Crunch.
Cayden Primeau got the start in goal. In the final week of the regular season, Primeau had a 3-0 record and .950 save percentage.
Laval obtained some early chances to start the match, but goalie Nico Daws stopped Jesse Ylonen and Pierrick Dube‘s opportunities.
Primeau was tested early as he stopped Brian Halonen with a right pad on a clear shot from the slot and a few minutes later the goalie made a quality stop on Graeme Clarke.
Utica opened the scoring at 12:21 when Reilly Walsh went through the defence before deking Primeau for the goal.
Lucas Condotta had the home team’s best chance of the period after jumping on Utica’s defensive zone turnover. The forward was face to face with the goalie but Daws stopped the puck.
The Comets doubled their lead early in the period during a two-on-one rush when Aarne Talvitie decided to shoot and found the back of the net.
Peter Abbandonato was serving a goalie interference minor when Gignac got Laval’s first quality chance of the frame. Utica was not able to settle in the offensive zone during the two-minute sequence.
Later in the period, Dube was stopped in the crease by Daws and Nolan Yaremko‘s shot from the slot missed the net.
There was not a lot of offence generated by the teams, and there was a stretch of 8:06 without a shot on goal by either squad.
With less than two minutes remaining, Ryan Schmelzer was left alone in the crease and buried the puck behind Primeau after accepting a pass from teammate Alexander Holtz.
Laval had a tough task ahead of them in the third period. During the regular season, the Rocket had won two of 29 games where they trailed after 40 minutes.
Both teams had chances early in the period. In the first minute, Abbandonato and Richard failed to convert on their opportunities and a couple of minutes later, Primeau stopped Halonen on a two-on-one rush.
The rivals continued exchanging scoring chances when Yaremko hit the crossbar and seconds later, Clarke was stopped on an odd man rush.
Laval got their first power play midway through the period. Daws made a spectacular pad save against Abbandonato in the opening moments to keep the Rocket off the board.
Jean-Francois Houle pulled Primeau for the extra attacker with 4:48 remaining in regulation to get his club back in the game. During the sequence, Daws made back-to-back stops on Rafael Harvey-Pinard and Joel Teasdale from the crease.
Schmelzer added an empty net goal with 1:07 remaining to seal the 4-0 victory.
What’s NextUtica will attempt to end the series on Friday at the Adirondack Bank Center.
Plus / Minus
▲ Corey Schueneman, Jesse Ylonen
▼ Rafael Harvey-Pinard, Anthony Richard
|0 for 1||Power Play||0 for 1|
Stars of the Game
|AHL Official Three Stars|
|Video highlights will be added when available|
What Did They Say?
Post-game interviews not available for tonight’s game
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