Home ice was not kind to the Rocket last week. Although they played well in all three games, they were only able to pick up a single win, slipping below .500 for the first time this season.
The Week That Was
Oct. 17: LAV 5, HFD 2 – Laval opened up on a high note with Michael Chaput leading the way with a pair of shorthanded goals. The Rocket also exacted a small bit of revenge after losing to the Wolf Pack in the opening weekend. Lukas Vejdemo picked up his first career AHL goal for Laval as well.
Oct. 19: SPR 5, LAV 3 – Michael McCarron had his best game of the season with a pair of goals but the Rocket allowed three in the third which proved to be the difference, continuing their run of win one/lose one to start the season.
Oct. 20: SPR 4, LAV 2 – Laval threw everything but the kitchen sink at Chris Driedger but were only able to beat him twice in 40 shots. Michael McNiven didn’t fare as well, allowing three on just 15 shots as goaltending played a big role in the Rocket’s first losing streak of the season.
Goals: Agostino/Chaput/Froese (3)
Assists: Agostino/Belzile/Kulak (4)
Points: Kenny Agostino (7)
+/-: Byron Froese (+5)
PIMS: Michael McCarron (13)
Shots: Alex Belzile (26)
News And Notes
– The good news for defenceman Gustav Olofsson is that he returned to the lineup from the shoulder injury he sustained back in training camp. The bad news for Olofsson is that he re-injured that same shoulder on Friday night.
– While Hayden Verbeek made his season debut on Friday (replacing Daniel Audette who was a healthy scratch), youngsters Jeremiah Addison and Michael Pezzetta have yet to play this season. Being scratched for three weeks doesn’t make a lot of sense when both could be sent to the ECHL to at least stay in playing shape.
– 63 goalies in the AHL have played at least 60 minutes so far this season. In that group, Charlie Lindgren ranks 44th in save percentage (.870) while Michael McNiven checks in at 56th (.833). The defence in Laval is better this year but the goaltending has been worse.
Last Game’s Lines:
Agostino – Chaput – Belzile
Audette – McCarron – Alain
Shinkaruk – Vejdemo – Froese
Jevpalovs – Evans – Grenier
Kulak – Lernout
Sklenicka – Lamarche
Moravcik – Fleury
The Week Ahead
Oct. 23: LAV vs TOR – Laval will meet the Marlies for their first of ten meetings this season. The defending Calder Cup champions have resembled what Laval was like at the start of last season – they score a lot and get scored on a lot. Toronto is tied for second in the East in goals scored at just over four goals per game. However, they’re dead last for goals allowed, giving up just shy of five per night. This could be a high scoring game.
Oct. 27: LAV vs RCH: – The Amerks got off to a slow start but since losing their first two games, they’ve picked up points in six straight to sit atop the Eastern Conference. They have the top two point-getters in the AHL in winger Victor Olofsson as well as former Hab/IceCap blueliner Zach Redmond.
It’s certainly too early to get excited but Michael McCarron’s performance in the early going this season is at least somewhat encouraging. His skating improvement is notable while he’s a lot more involved in the play compared to the last two years. Most importantly, he’s not focusing on trying to run around and hit people, something he was guilty of far too often in past years under Sylvain Lefebvre and his staff. He has a long way to go before he could legitimately warrant NHL consideration again but he has at least played himself back into the discussion. Considering where he was a month ago, that’s a small win right there.