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 28, Home Game 15 | Wednesday, January 19, 2022|
|Place Bell, Laval, QC|
Rocket LineupForward lines
Gabriel Bourque – Jean-Sebastien Dea – Jesse Ylonen
Rafael Harvey-Pinard – Jean-Christophe Beaudin – Alex Belzile
Danick Martel – Peter Abbandonato – Kevin Roy
Brandon Baddock – Alexandre Fortin – Devante Smith-PellyDefense pairings
Gianni Fairbrother – Louie Belpedio
Tobie Paquette-Bisson – Carl Neill
Terrance Amorosa – Tory DelloGoaltenders
Kevin Poulin – Louis-Philip GuindonScratches
Cameron Hillis, Justin DucharmeInjuries
Joel Teasdale (surgery), Josh Brook (surgery), Xavier Ouellet (lower-body injury), Brandon Gignac (upper-body injury)
Game Report written by Amy Johnson
The Laval Rocket came into tonight’s game looking to put Sunday’s shutout in Hartford in the rearview mirror.
With an announcement earlier in the week that the Laval Rocket’s home-and-home series against the Belleville Senators scheduled for this weekend would be postponed, all eyes turned to their sole matchup of the week: a Wednesday tilt on home ice against the Utica Comets. For the second consecutive home game, the Rocket would play in front of no fans due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Jean-Francois Houle‘s lineup continued to return to something more closely resembling the regular roster as Jesse Ylonen and Alex Belzile rejoined the team. Kevin Poulin got his third consecutive start in net, with both Cayden Primeau and Michael McNiven both recalled to the Canadiens and the taxi squad, respectively.
After the morning skate, this reporter asked Houle if he was confident his team could come out firing on all cylinders in the opening period, which they had failed to do on their road trip. The head coach confirmed that it was a serious topic of discussion during practice and meetings this week and that he believed the team would be ready to go at opening faceoff.
The coach was on target with that response, as the Rocket wasted no time in taking it to the division-leading Utica Comets. In fact, not only was Laval getting shots on Nico Daws almost immediately, they also prevented the Comets from registering a shot for about the first quarter of the period.
Laval got an early power play opportunity, looking to improve this area of weakness on special teams. Their solution came in the form of Ylonen who gathered up his own rebound off a blocked shot and sniped the puck past Daws to put Laval on the board first.
The remainder of the period showed two teams pretty equal to the task at hand, exchanging shots at either end. Poulin had both goalposts to thank after a few Utica shots hit iron, but neither goaltender allowed any more pucks to pass in the frame.
After a stop-and-go start to the middle frame, Utica was able to settle things down and score a tying goal about six minutes into the period. Alexander Holtz rang the puck off the post and into Laval’s net.
About three minutes later, the Rocket found themselves back on the man advantage, and once again it was Ylonen putting the puck in the back of the net. This time he was all alone in the circle and patiently wristed a shot past Daws.
Three minutes after that, Louie Belpedio scored his fifth goal of the season when we wired the puck through traffic off a long shot from the point.
In the second half of the period, there was a moment of concern after Fairbrother laid a hard hit on Aarne Talvitie along the far boards. It took the Laval defenseman a few minutes to get up, but he eventually did and slowly made his way to the penalty box for a charging infraction.
Utica didn’t cave under the pressure, and managed to get one goal back before the period expired. Nate Schnarr entered the offensive zone down the left wing side, muscled his way around Belpedio, and moved the puck through the crease and around the far side of Poulin.
The Comets seemed to continue to build momentum as the game wore on. Although the Rocket were able to kill off a Belzile penalty a minute into the period, they weren’t able to stop Michael Vukojevic from ripping a wrister past Poulin from the slot.
Peter Abbandonato scored his first goal of the season on the power play when he cleaned up a big rebound in front of the Utica net, restoring Laval’s one-goal lead.
Utica worked until the very last second to try to find a third tying goal on the night, but the Rocket kept them from a comeback and walked away with a big two points in the divisional matchup.
Due to the upcoming weekend’s postponements, the Rocket now have more than a week off before their next game action. They’ll use the time for practice, before boarding a plane late next week for a two-game series in Texas against the Stars.
Be sure to scroll down to hear full audio of post-game interviews with Ylonen, Poulin, Devante Smith-Pelly, and Houle conducted by the AHL Report team and other members of the media.
Plus / Minus
▲ Jesse Ylonen, Louie Belpedio
▼ Gianni Fairbrother, Alex Belzile
|3 for 3||Power Play||0 for 3|
Stars of the Game
|AHL Official Three Stars|
|Video highlights will be added once they are available|
What Did They Say?
Post-game interviews conducted tonight for the AHL Report by Chris G
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