The Rocket this Week
The Rocket will look to carry the momentum they built over the last three games into their road matchup with the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday, February 20 (7:00 p.m. / 91,9 Sports), before returning home to close out the week with a set of back-to-back games against the Manitoba Moose at Place Bell on Friday, February 22 (7:30 p.m./ 91, Sports, TSN 690) and Saturday, February 23 (3:00 p.m. / 91,9 Sports).
Joël Bouchard's squad picked up five out of a possible six points over their last three road games, beginning with a 4-3 victory over the Binghamton Devils on Friday, February 15. The Rocket stormed out of the gates, peppering the Devils with 13 shots in the opening frame and building a 3-0 lead before the midway point of the game on goals from Alexandre Alain, Alexandre Grenier and Alex Belzile. Binghamton narrowed the lead to 3-2, but Daniel Audette's ninth goal of the year early in the third added some insurance. The Devils managed to get one past Charlie Lindgren late in the period, but the Rocket held on for the win.
Laval (21-23-4-4) followed that effort up with a second straight win over Binghamton the following afternoon, downing the Senators 5-2. Morgan Adams-Moisan opened the scoring with his first career AHL goal. Grenier scored his second in as many days early in the second period, but the Devils were able to tie things up before the end of the frame. The Rocket put the game away in the third courtesy of goals from Lukas Vejdemo, Belzile and Audette. Nikita Jevpalovs chipped in with two assists, while Michael McNiven stood tall in goal, stopping 22 of Binghamton's 24 shots.
The Rocket played a rare Monday afternoon game on February 18 to begin this week, going up against the North Division rival Belleville Senators. Michael Chaput scored twice and Alain added two assists. It wasn't enough, though, as the Senators secured a 4-3 overtime win.
Laval now heads to Syracuse to battle another division rival in the Crunch (30-15-2-2), who currently sit second in the AHL's North Division. This is the fourth meeting of the season between the two clubs. Syracuse has taken two of the three matchups thus far. The Rocket were able to completely shut down Syracuse's powerful offense in their most recent meeting at Place Bell, blanking the Crunch 4-0.
Laval will return to the friendly confines of Place Bell this weekend for two games against Manitoba (24-22-3-2). The Moose took the first game back in January by a score of 4-0, but the Rocket rebounded two days later with a thrilling 6-5 shootout victory to even up the season series.
Rocket fans are in for a treat as both games versus the Moose appear on the 2018-19 promotional schedule. Friday night's matchup is Social Media Night. Fans should have their cellphones ready as they will be asked to like, share and follow along throughout the game (#GoRocket). Meanwhile, Saturday's game is Drawstring Bag Giveaway Night. Presented by Home Depot, a limited number of drawstring bags will be offered to the first 3,000 fans entering the arena!
By the numbers...
Buts / Goals Alex Belzile (13)
Aides / Assists Alex Belzile (27)
Points Alex Belzile (40)
Tirs / Shots Alex Belzile (127)
MBA / GAA Michael McNiven (2.53)
%ARR / SVS% Michael McNiven (.902)
1. Youngsters Daniel Audette (30 points in 47 games) and Jake Evans (29 points in 48 games) have stepped up lately and currently rank second and third in team scoring, respectively...
1. Syracuse has been hot of late, posting a 7-2-0-1 record over its last 10 games. They've been especially strong on home ice with a record of 17-5-0-2...
1. Manitoba has struggled on the road this season, coming into the week with a 7-13-3-1 record away from Bell MTS Place...
2. The Rocket power play has delivered on home ice, clicking at 18.5% at Place Bell...
2. An important part of Syracuse's success has been the play of a couple of key forwards. Carter Verhaeghe ranks second in the AHL with 55 points, while Cory Conacher ranks 12th with 48 points...
2. Forward Seth Griffith has been a force on the man advantage all season, chipping in with 18 power play assists, good for third in the AHL in that category...
3. The Rocket can extend its road point streak to four games on Wednesday night in Syracuse... 3. Goaltender Connor Ingram has been stellar between the pipes for the Crunch, ranking first in the AHL in GAA (2.25), save percentage (.923) and shutouts (6) in 20 games played... 3. Goaltender Eric Comrie ranks fourth in the AHL with 19 victories this year. Comrie has also played the most minutes (2178:51) and made the most saves (1118) of any goaltender in the AHL this season...
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