Late Third Period Goals Steal Victory from Rocket
BELLEVILLE - The Rocket's preseason calendar continued Saturday night at the CAA arena in Belleville with their second and final preseason duel with the Senators. Despite a solid performance from Laval's players, three goals scored late in the third by the home team ultimately stole the game for them with a final score of 4-2.
Both teams started right where they left off yesterday with physical gameplay from the game's first whistle. Belleville's power play once again caused some trouble for the Rocket, as it allowed Logan Brown to get his team on the board with a nice passing play initiated by Nick Paul. However, the Rocket replied with a goal of their own off the stick of Nikita Jevpalovs a few minutes later. Jevpalovs's linemates Lukas Vejdemo and Alexandre Grenier picked up the assists on the goal. Shortly after this first goal for Laval, centre Jake Evans broke the tie before the first intermission with his first of the preseason off a rebound in the slot from a shot by Ryan Culkin and deeking out goaltender Filip Gustavsson.
The Rocket then played a near flawless second period allowing only five shots on goal. Joël Bouchard's players sent 12 towards Gustavsson, but the Belleville netmider was at the top of his game. Like the first two periods, the third was played with intensity. Drake Batherson brought both teams back to square one with less than seven minutes to play, accepting a perfect pass to beat Michael McNiven. Andrew Sturtz went on the score the game-winning goal after a neutral zone giveaway and Brown scored the insurance goal in the empty Laval net. Despite this, the Rocket dominated shots on goal 29-18.
"We played a good game," said head coach Bouchard after the game. "The result wasn't in our favour, but we learned a lot in the third period. We have to learn how to handle the game, but I really liked the engagement of our players."
LAV: Jevpalovs (12,28) | Evans (7,22)
BEL: Brown (7, 21) | Batherson (22, 10) | Sturtz (3, 13) | Brown
LAV: McNiven (4/6) | Marcoux (10/11) | BEL: Gustavsson (27/29)
Rocket Powerplay: 0/4 | Rocket Penalty Kill: 1/2
Three Stars :
1. Drake Batherson - BEL | 2. Logan Brown - BEL | 3. Andrew Sturtz - BEL
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