Laval put forth a strong showing to win their home opener and despite dominating the play in their second game, they weren’t able to sweep the set against Binghamton.
The Week That Was
Oct. 12: LAV 5, BNG 2 – If you’re a fan of lots of goal scoring, the first period was the one for you in Laval’s home opener as the two teams combined to score six times. Things settled down considerably after that although the Rocket picked up an insurance marker midway through the third to send the crowd home happy.
Oct. 13: BNG 2, LAV 1 – Game two didn’t go as well in terms of the end result but it would be tough for Joel Bouchard to be unhappy with his squad. They dominated the Devils as the game went on but unfortunately for Laval, Binghamton netminder Mackenzie Blackwood (who Montreal was quite successful against in the preseason) was in great form for his season debut, turning aside 40 of 41 shots.
Goals: Froese/Grenier (2)
Assists: Michael McCarron (3)
Points: Byron Froese (4)
+/-: Byron Froese (+5)
PIMS: Michael McCarron (9)
Shots: Alex Belzile (16)
News And Notes
– The first real set of cuts were made as five players were sent to the ECHL. Wingers Morgan Adams-Moisan and Antoine Waked along with defenceman Ryan Culkin were sent to Maine of the ECHL, defenceman T.J. Melancon was assigned to Norfolk, while centre Phelix Martineau is off to Fort Wayne. In the case of the last two, they were required to go to that specific team as they were on the end-of-season protection lists on those teams. Laval doesn’t officially have an ECHL affiliate this year but will likely be partnering up with Maine, the Rangers’ affiliate, when they want to send players down.
– One surprise non-cut was goaltender Etienne Marcoux as Laval is still carrying three goalies. That did come in handy in Saturday at least when Charlie Lindgren was recalled to back up Antti Niemi in Montreal.
– Despite claiming that he’d be willing to start the season in Laval, Simon Despres has declined an AHL contract from the Rocket. He has stated that he’d like to continue playing hockey but it appears he’ll have to head overseas to continue to do so.
– Although he was healthy enough to go on waivers and be traded, defenceman Gustav Olofsson has not been cleared to play as he works his way back from a shoulder injury that he sustained in training camp.
Last Game’s Lines:
Agostino – Chaput – Belzile
Shinkaruk – McCarron – Alain
Jevpalovs – Evans – Froese
Audette – Vejdemo – Grenier
Kulak – Lamarche
Moravcik – Lernout
Sklenicka – Fleury
The Week Ahead
Oct. 17: HFD vs LAV – For the second and final time this season, Laval will take on the Wolf Pack, a team that has had quite the balanced attack in the early going. Ten different players have at least three points already; for comparison, the Rocket have just three. Hartford was victorious in their first meeting of the year, winning 3-1.
Oct. 19/20: SPR vs LAV – After a poor finish last season, the Thunderbirds are off to a better start this time around and have yet to lose in regulation over their first four games. Laval will catch a bit of a break thanks to Roberto Luongo’s injury in Florida as that has taken veteran Michael Hutchinson away from Springfield. Harry Zolnierczyk, who has not been known for his offensive prowess throughout his career, quietly is tied for the league lead in scoring with nine points in just four games.
Over the summer, I had highlighted Daniel Audette as a player that was going to have a lot riding on this season. For him to prove himself worthy of a second contract, he’d need to find a way to stand out against better competition on the roster. That hasn’t happened and as a result, he finds himself on the fourth line which isn’t going to cut it when it comes to trying to stand out. For starters, that’s not an ideal role for an offence-first player. On top of that, the organization isn’t going to want prospects like Jeremiah Addison and Hayden Verbeek sitting much longer and it could very well be Audette that comes out for one of them. It’s still early but through the preseason and the first two weeks of the campaign, the only thing he has really shown thus far is that he’s expendable. That’s the exact opposite of what he needs to accomplish. He needs to pick up his level of play quickly.