Montreal Canadiens AHL Affiliate | Laval Rocket News: Laval Rocket Week in Review, Charlie Lindgren Recalled, Cayden Primeau Returns to Laval, Evan McEneny Debut, Injuries
ROCKET SPORTS MEDIA | LAVAL, QC. — The Rocket collected two of the possible six points last week in their three homes games last week. That number is definitely too low if they want to clinch a playoff spot.
On Tuesday, Laval beat Cleveland for the second time in a week thanks to a 3-2 shootout win. Charles Hudon sent the teams to overtime by scoring the tying goal on the power play with 3:48 remaining in the third. Hudon has six goals in his last five AHL games. Dale Weise scored the first goal and the shootout winner in the seventh round. It was Weise’s first goal in 11 games.
Over the weekend, Rochester beat Laval twice. On Friday, the Rocket outshot the Americans 37-20 in the 3-2 loss. “They weren’t going in. And that’s, you know, you got to be proud as a coach as one part of you’re like, ‘well I’m happy to guys they battle the way they battle is really impressive’ and the other side you disappointed because you’re like, ‘just needed that one more goal and push that game by a little further.’ You know we give everything we had until the end. I’m pretty happy about the effort of everybody with no passenger tonight, that’s for sure,” said Joel Bouchard after the game.
On Saturday, Rochester easily beat Laval by a score of 5-0. “We had a tough start against a really good team and we can’t afford to do that. The game was all played in the first period, after that we had to start chasing the game back, and we just can’t allow ourselves to do that,” analyzed Xavier Ouellet.
The Rocket play two more games before their Christmas break. On Tuesday, Laval ends their four game home stand as Rockford visits Place Bell. The Rocket won the first game of the season between these two teams. On Friday, Laval heads to Utica to face the Comets. The team have split the first two games they have played this season.
Charlie Lindgren was recalled by the Canadiens on Saturday morning. It was clear that there was something brewing when it was announced that Lindgren would make a second consecutive start on Friday due to an organizational decision. Since the beginning of the season, Bouchard has been alternating starts between his goalies without any exceptions.
Lindgren has had a good season in Laval. “I think all year I’ve been playing really well, whenever I get the chance to get in there, I want to give the team the best chance I can to win,” Lindgren said on Friday. “I feel really good. Again stats definitely don’t tell the whole story, I think I’ve had a really good hockey year and just got to keep going.”
Cayden Primeau was assigned back to Laval on Saturday morning and got the start that afternoon. Primeau played well in his two starts with Montreal, however his return to Laval wasn’t spectacular, allowing five goals on 32 shots against Rochester.
“I feel bad for our goalie. We didn’t help him tonight,” Ouellet said post game. I wouldn’t pin the loss to Primeau, however as you see in the videos below, he did make two mistakes that led to the puck getting behind him.
It’s unclear on how the goalie situation will be handled in the organization for the balance of the season. The only thing that seems clear right now is that management feels that Keith Kinkaid isn’t part of the solution.
“The only thing they said was that they were wanting to make sure that I knew that they had confidence when when I was in net but you know, I don’t make those decisions. I have to be ready when my name is called, and if it’s down here or with the big club, you got to be ready,” said Primeau when asked if he knew what the plan is.
I think that Lindgren and Primeau will be swapping back and forth in the short term. A decision will need to be made in the next couple of weeks on how they will manage the situation. Lindgren isn’t waiver exempt, meaning that the organization will likely want to manage the amount of time he spends with Montreal.
McEneny Season Debut
Evan McEneny made his season debut on Friday. Laval signed him to a professional tryout contract on November 21st, however he wasn’t capable of playing as he was recovering from knee surgery.
“My first shift they scored on us. So I think after that I kind of, you know, played with a little more intensity and after the first period I think I kind of got my legs under me had a little bit of o-zone time in the second and third period so that kind of helped my confidence,” McEneny evaluated his first game since March 6th, when he was playing for Utica.
“It didn’t show that it was a long time since he’s played. He has a good hockey mind and good vision, ” added Maxim Lamarche.
With Otto Leskinen being assigned to the Rocket on Saturday night, this will increase the log jam on the left side of the defence. I expect that Leskinen to join Ouellet to play on the right side, and Lamarche to be bumped out of the lineup.
Organizational Injuries Force Roster Moves
“The organization is pretty banged up right now,” said Bouchard on the weekend whether the injuries are starting to catch up. On Saturday, the injury list included Phil Varone, Alex Belzile, and Dale Weise. As a result to injuries in Montreal, Riley Barber, Ryan Poehling, and Matthew Peca were recalled.
The injuries in Montreal and Laval are testing the organization’s depth. The Rocket signed forwards Ralph Cuddemi and James Phelan to professional tryout contracts on Wednesday.
At the time of the signing, Cuddemi was the leading scorer in the ECHL with 34 points in 25 games played with the Reading Royals. Cuddemi played both games against Rochester and I think he played well, including leading the team with five shots on goal on Saturday.
Phelan has four points in 19 games in the ECHL playing for the Jacksonville Icemen and the Adirondack Thunder. Last season, Phelan played 45 games in the AHL scoring three times and added three assists with the Texas Stars.