Laval got off to a strong start last week but it ended on a low note after they blew a lead against Syracuse, allowing five goals in less than 24 minutes in the process.
The Week That Was
Nov. 13: Rocket 6, Marlies 2 – Toronto has had difficulties keeping the puck out of their net and Laval took advantage early, chasing starter Jeff Glass from the game before the ten-minute mark of the first period. Lukas Vejdemo had his first multi-goal game in the AHL while Maxim Lamarche had his first goal since February in the victory.
Nov. 16: Sound Tigers 2, Rocket 1 (SO) – Bridgeport has been a high-flying team offensively all season long and Laval did well to hold them to just a single goal as Charlie Lindgren had a strong night between the pipes. Jake Evans picked up the tying goal in the last minute of regulation to secure a well-earned point in this one.
Nov. 17: Crunch 6, Rocket 4 – Laval got off to a strong start and had a 3-1 lead at the midway point thanks to a pair of power play goals but it went downhill from there. Syracuse scored five straight to put the game out of reach before Michael Pezzetta picked up his first career goal in the final minute.
Shootout – Skaters:
Shootout – Goalies:
Goals: Michael Chaput (7)
Assists: Alex Belzile (12)
Points: Belzile/Evans (13)
+/-: Lamarche/Moravcik/Shinkaruk (+4)
PIMS: Alexandre Grenier (27)
Shots: Alex Belzile (49)
News And Notes
– Nikita Jevpalovs was able to return to the lineup from his undisclosed injury but Cale Fleury is now out with an undisclosed injury of his own. (I guess the commitment to greater transparency only goes as far as Montreal…)
– After getting off to a strong start to the season, Michael McCarron’s offence has completely dried up. He has just a single assist in his last ten games despite spending a good chunk of his playing time in the top six.
– Hunter Shinkaruk was a healthy scratch on Saturday’s game. Considering he’s been scratched before, that isn’t overly surprising in itself but it’s worth noting that the coaching staff had enough confidence to have him out down by one late in Friday’s game where he collected an assist on Evans’ game-tying goal.
– With Nikita Scherbak going on injured reserve in Montreal, Michael Chaput was recalled. He has been on a nice run lately with six points in his last six games.
The Week Ahead
Nov. 21: vs Utica – This is the fourth and final matchup between the two sides this month before they go a whole week and a half between playing each other (on December 1st). Despite running with an ECHL goalie tandem, the Comets have managed to stay within striking distance of a playoff spot and are only two points behind Laval on the season.
Nov. 24/25: at Charlotte – The Checkers have been the class of the AHL so far with a .794 points percentage. They’re led up front by Janne Kuokkanen and Andrew Poturalski while Alex Nedeljkovic has been strong between the pipes. Cale Fleury’s older brother Haydn has spent some time with them this year but is currently up with Carolina.
While we’re only approaching the one-quarter mark of the year, there’s an early contender for their unsung hero for this team in winger Alex Belzile. His addition back on July 1st largely went under the radar with both the Habs and Laval signing quite a few other players. However, he has gone from someone that was pegged to be a depth guy to one of its top players. Part of that is due to the fact that most of the veterans aren’t pulling their weight but Belzile has certainly earned a bigger role. He’s on pace for a career year by a considerable margin so some regression is to be expected but even so, he has quickly become a core part of this team. Not too shabby for someone who just played his first full AHL year last season (in his fifth pro campaign).