Special Teams Fuel Rocket's 4-2 Victory over Senators
LAVAL - The hot streaks of Daniel Audette, Jake Evans, Alex Belzile and Xavier Ouellet as well as of the Rocket's special teams continued on Wednesday night at Place Bell and propelled the Laval Rocket to a 4-2 victory over the Belleville Senators. Laval's powerplay was three-for-three on the night, and Ouellet and Belzile each picked up a point while Audette picked up two and Evans three in the win over the divisional rival. The Rocket recent performances combined with tonight's victory puts the team just three points out of a playoff spot.
An early penalty kill for the Rocket gave Joël Bouchard's players the momentum they needed to get on the board first in the opening frame during a powerplay of their own. Audette fed Evans for his 10th goal of the season, in which he made it 1-0 for the Rocket by sliding the puck between the pads of Belleville's Filip Gustavsson. Jack Rodewald would tie the game for the visitors by period's end however, as the extra man on the ice due to a delayed Rocket penalty allowed him to net his 14th of the year.
The Rocket's special teams struck again in the second period as Belzile cut to the net and made a one-handed backhand pass to Byron Froese while shorthanded, who wristed it by Gustavsson for his 12th of the season. Though Belleville would get a second goal in the period, the Rocket had the lead heading into the third due to another powerplay goal, this time from Alexandre Alain.
Audette picked up his second point of the night with a powerplay goal halfway through the third period to give the Rocket their first two-goal lead of the night. Belleville pulled their goaltender in favour of the extra attacker with a little over two minutes remaining, but Connor LaCouvee withstood their attempts to tie the game.
"We struggled at the beginning of the season and we've worked on it a lot," said Audette after the game when asked what made the powerplay click tonight. "We had a few things to improve and now we're all on the same page. When we know where everyone is on the ice, it makes a big difference."
LAV: Evans (Audette, Ouellet) | Froese (Belzile) | Alain (Evans, Jevpalovs) |
Audette (Froese, Evans)
BEL: Rodewald (Elliott, Englund) | Rodewald (Brown, Goloubef)
Goaltenders: LAV: LaCouvee (25/27) | BEL: Gustavsson (21/25)
Rocket Powerplay: 3/3| Rocket Penalty Kill: 3/4
Three Stars: 1. Jake Evans - LAV | 2. Daniel Audette - LAV | 3. Alex Belzile - LAV
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