Laval Rocket vs Utica Comets Game Recap: Line-up, Score, Game Report, Statistics, Highlights, Three Stars, Post-Game, Interviews, AHL, Rocket Sports Media
|FINAL | Game 31, Away Game 16 | Wednesday, February 2, 2022|
|Adirondack Bank Center, Utica, NY|
Rocket LineupForward lines
Gabriel Bourque – Jean-Sebastien Dea – Jesse Ylonen
Rafael Harvey-Pinard – Alex Belzile – Peter Abbandonato
Joel Teasdale – Lukas Vejdemo – Kevin Roy
Brandon Baddock – Jean-Christophe Beaudin – Danick MartelDefense pairings
Xavier Ouellet – Louie Belpedio
Corey Schueneman – Tory Dello
Gianni Fairbrother – Tobie Paquette-BissonGoaltenders
Kevin Poulin – Louis-Philip GuindonScratches
Alexandre Fortin, Terrance Amorosa, Devante Smith-PellyInjuries
Josh Brook (surgery), Brandon Gignac (upper-body injury)
Game Report written by Amy Johnson
The Rocket refueled in Laval for two days this week before boarding the bus and heading out for a three-game road trip. The first stop on the itinerary was Utica, where the Quebec team would face the league-leading Comets on Wednesday and Friday night.
Laval looked to continue the type of play they showcased on Saturday in Texas when they ended that trip on a high note with a victory against the Stars.
Kevin Poulin got the nod as the starting goaltender tonight, after being pulled prior to the third period in his last outing on Friday. Lukas Vejdemo returned to the lineup from his stint in Montreal.
The best word I can find to describe the opening 20 minutes is: disjointed. While Laval did manage to put 10 shots on Nico Daws in the period, it was the Comets who seemed to control the pace and play throughout the frame.
Alex Belzile was the only player to spend time in the penalty box in this frame, and Laval’s penalty killers did their jobs efficiently. To his credit, Poulin had a solid start and made some key saves early in the game.
With just over six minutes left before intermission, Utica broke things open with a wonky goal scored by Reilly Walsh. The puck seemed to bounce around off of a few sticks before slowly dribbling through Poulin.
The ice began to tilt even more in Utica’s direction, and they doubled their tally just three minutes later when Alexander Holtz sniped a shot from the slot and went bar down to score. Holtz was recently named the AHL Rookie of the Month.
There seemed to be a definitive shift in the game about halfway through the second period, after Laval had successfully killed off their second and third penalties on the night.
The team transitioned to a more aggressive forecheck, putting Utica back on its heels a bit. Danick Martel lit the lamp to get the Rocket on the board, by staying with the puck and burying his own rebound.
Tensions ticked up noticeably toward the end of the period, particularly with one big scrum after a whistle near the Utica net. Brandon Baddock and Nikita Okhotiuk made the most of it, with Gianni Fairbrother even getting involved. Much to the chagrin of the Utica fans and head coach Kevin Dineen, the officials awarded Laval their first power play of the night when Okhotiuk was assessed an additional roughing penalty.
In the final 20 minutes, Laval again found themselves struggling to do anything significant in the offensive zone. It took almost half the period for them to even register a shot on goal in the frame, but they made it count when they finally did.
Xavier Ouellet with a good defensive play to keep the puck in the zone at the blue line, completed a pass to fellow defenseman Louie Belpedio who put a big shot on net. Belzile deflected his shot past Daws to tie the game.
Five minutes later the Rocket found themselves on another power play, and this time they converted it. Belpedio again let loose with a big point shot which Rafael Harvey-Pinard tipped in to give Laval their first lead of the night.
The Rocket totaled just four shots on goal in the final frame but managed to score three goals in the period, including an empty-netter by Belzile for his second tally of the night.
The Rocket will remain in Utica for practice on Thursday before a rematch against the Comets in their barn on Friday night. The road trip will round out on Saturday when Laval visits Belleville to take on the Senators.
Be sure to scroll down to hear full audio of post-game interviews with Harvey-Pinard, Martel, and Houle conducted by the AHL Report team and other members of the media.
Plus / Minus
▲ Gianni Fairbrother, Rafael Harvey-Pinard, Alex Belzile
▼ Jean-Sebastien Dea, Tory Dello
|1 for 2||Power Play||0 for 3|
Stars of the Game
|AHL Official Three Stars|
What Did They Say?
Post-game interviews conducted tonight for the AHL Report by Amy Johnson
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