Laval Rocket vs Springfield Thunderbirds Game Recap: Line-up, Score, Game Report, Statistics, Highlights, Three Stars, Post-Game, Interviews, AHL, Rocket Sports Media
FINAL | Eastern Conference Final – Game 2 | Sunday, June 5, 2022
Series tied 1-1
|MassMutual Center, Springfield, MA|
Rocket LineupForward lines
Rafael Harvey-Pinard – Brandon Gignac – Jesse Ylonen
Danick Martel – Jean-Sebastien Dea – Alex Belzile
Gabriel Bourque – Peter Abbandonato – Joel Teasdale
Lucas Condotta – Nate Schnarr – Jean-Christophe BeaudinDefense 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, Kevin Roy, Riley Kidney, Gianni Fairbrother, Joshua RoyInjuries
Lukas Vejdemo (lower body), Mattias Norlinder (upper body), Cedric Paquette (unknown)
Game Report written by Amy Johnson
The opening game of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Final series between the Laval Rocket and the Springfield Thunderbirds proved to be an intense, defensive, goaltending showdown. It took almost half the game before Laval broke through for a 1-0 lead, but Springfield persisted, tied the game late, and took the victory in overtime.
Less than 24 hours later, the two teams were back on the ice at MassMutual Center for game two, armed with a better understanding of what each other’s opponents could bring to the ice. Jean-Francois Houle made some adjustments to his forward lines, moving Cedric Paquette to the top line and bumping Jean-Sebastien Dea to the second line. Danick Martel also moved up to the second line, and Peter Abbandonato came out of the lineup for Jean-Christophe Beaudin.
On the other side of the ice, Drew Bannister was forced to find a replacement for Luke Witkowski, who was injured in the throat by a broken stick in yesterday’s game. Witkowski had posted a photo of the injury to social media and is out for now to heal. Bannister also chose to continue his rotation of goaltenders, as he’s done for most of the playoffs, and gave the start to Charlie Lindgren in order to rest Joel Hofer.
The opening five minutes of the game seemed to tilt in Laval’s favor a bit, with Lindgren getting settled into the crease and the Thunderbirds playing a bit on their heels. Brandon Gignac got the Rocket on the board early, after taking a pass from Jesse Ylonen and shoveling the puck past the Springfield netminder.
Ylonen continued tallying points when, five minutes later, he fired a shot on Lindgren during four-on-four play. The puck tipped off of the goaltender’s glove and into the net to give Laval a 2-0 lead.
But Springfield didn’t sit back, despite being down early. They turned up the pressure and Mackenzie MacEachern took advantage of Primeau not sealing off the goalpost completely to bring his team back within one goal.
Laval got the first power play of the game just nine seconds into the middle frame when Brady Lyle clipped Rafael Harvey-Pinard with a high stick. The Rocket couldn’t convert the man-advantage, however, but then Alex Belzile scored when Martel passed him the puck through the slot and a tap-in was all it took to make it 3-1.
Springfield gave the Rocket plenty of chances on the power play in the middle frame, but once again, special teams couldn’t come up with a goal on the man-advantage. Ylonen, however, continued to put his stamp on this matchup as he fed Harvey-Pinard with a cross-crease pass and his linemate put it across the line for his first goal of the postseason.
The Rocket announced that Gabriel Bourque would not return to the game, leaving Houle’s bench one man short. Less than three minutes into the period, Klim Kostin got a goal back for Springfield when he took advantage of a miscue between Primeau and his defensemen that left the Laval goaltender scrambling to get back to his crease.
Laval then proceeded to take a couple of consecutive penalties, leaving the door open for Springfield to attempt another comeback, but this time the task was too much. The Rocket handed the Thunderbirds their first loss of this year’s Calder Cup playoffs, snapping a seven-game postseason win streak.
Laval now will look to use their boisterous home crowd to help them win the next few games, as games three through five will be played at Place Bell. The Rocket could potentially take the series if they’re able to win all three games at home.
Be sure to scroll down to hear post-game interviews with Tobie Paquette-Bisson, Ylonen, Harvey-Pinard, and Houle, as well as Springfield’s Bannister, by the AHL Report team and other members of the media.
Plus / Minus
▲ Jesse Ylonen, Corey Schueneman, Rafael Harvey-Pinard
▼ Danick Martel, Jean-Christophe Beaudin
|0 for 3||Power Play||0 for 4|
Stars of the Game
|AHL Official Three Stars|
What Did They Say?
Rafael Harvey Pinard
Drew Bannister (Head Coach, Springfield)
Post-game interviews conducted for The AHL Report tonight by Amy Johnson
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