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Following a strong stretch at home, Laval travelled to Manitoba for a pair of games and they were able to manage a split against the Moose.

The Week That Was

Jan. 10: Moose 4, Rocket 0 – Things didn’t get off to a good start as Laval trailed 2-0 before the midway point of the first period.  The Rocket peppered Eric Comrie with 35 shots but Winnipeg’s top goalie prospect was up to the task.  Manitoba added an empty-netter and then scored in the dying seconds for good measure.

Jan. 12: Rocket 6, Moose 5 (SO) – The power play has been an issue for Laval all season long (it must be an organizational thing…) but at least for one game, this wasn’t the case.  The Rocket went 3/5 with the man advantage (and added a shorthanded goal for good measure) but they needed every one of them as Manitoba tied it up with just over four minutes left in regulation.  Daniel Audette scored the lone goal in the shootout to give the road side the extra point.

StatPack

Skaters:

# Player GP G A +/- SOG PIMS
2 Maxim Lamarche 2 0 0 E 2 2
5 David Sklenicka 2 0 0 +1 5 0
8 David Schlemko 2 0 1 -3 3 2
10 Jake Evans 2 0 2 -2 4 0
11 Nikita Jevpalovs 2 1 0 -1 3 0
12 Lukas Vejdemo 2 0 1 -1 6 2
14 Brett Lernout 2 0 0 -3 2 2
15 Phelix Martineau 1 0 0 -1 0 0
17 Hayden Verbeek 2 0 0 -2 1 4
19 Antoine Waked 2 1 1 +2 5 5
21 Byron Froese 2 0 1 -1 8 2
22 Alex Belzile 2 1 1 -2 7 2
23 Michael Pezzetta 2 0 0 -1 2 0
24 Daniel Audette 2 2 1 -3 5 4
27 Alexandre Alain 2 0 0 -1 3 6
28 Alexandre Grenier 2 0 0 -3 2 0
38 Cale Fleury 2 0 0 -3 3 2
41 Alex Kile 1 0 0 -1 2 0
43 Xavier Ouellet 2 0 2 -2 9 2

Goalies:

# Player Record GAA SV% SO
35 Charlie Lindgren 1-1-0 3.84 .867 0

Shootout – Skaters:

# Player G/ATT
22 Alex Belzile 0/1
24 Daniel Audette 1/1

Shootout – Goalies:

# Player SVS/SF
35 Charlie Lindgren 3/3

Team Leaders:

Goals: Byron Froese (11)
Assists: Alex Belzile (21)
Points: Alex Belzile (29)
+/-: Byron Froese (+6)
PIMS: Michael McCarron (46)
Shots: Alex Belzile (93)

News And Notes

- Charlie Lindgren returned to the lineup after missing more than a month due to injury.  The team carried three goalies for the trip with Connor LaCouvee and Michael McNiven each dressing for a game.  There remains no information on the injuries to Michael McCarron, Hunter Shinkaruk, and Noah Juulsen.

- With his two assists this past week, Jake Evans cracked the top-20 in league scoring by a rookie.

Last Game’s Lines:

Audette – Evans – Belzile
Jevpalovs – Froese – Grenier
Kile – Vejdemo – Alain
Pezzetta – Verbeek – Waked

Sklenicka – Lernout
Ouellet – Fleury
Schlemko – Lamarche

The Week Ahead

Jan. 16: vs Belleville – There isn’t much left to say about the Senators – it’s the fifth time in six weeks that these two teams play.  So instead, I’ll note that they traded their top scorer in Paul Carey last week to add some defensive depth (Cody Goloubef) with the big club down three blueliners at the moment.  The two teams are tied for last in the division but Laval has two games in hand.

Jan. 18/19: vs Cleveland – The Monsters are one of the teams that Laval needs to leapfrog to get back into the playoff picture (admittedly an unlikely scenario at this point) so these are two crucial games.  Cleveland is a veteran-laden team with their top five point producers being 25 or older but they still have some decent youngsters in Sonny Milano, Eric Robinson, and Paul Bittner.

Final Thought

Some have viewed the waiving and demotion of David Schlemko as a sign that he won’t be around much longer.  I’m not so sure.  I view this as more of a longer-term conditioning assignment more than anything else.  Instead of trying to play his way into shape with sporadic NHL appearances, he can take a regular shift for as long as necessary until he’s back in playing form.  I believe he’s still seventh on the depth chart ahead of Karl Alzner but the Habs know they can keep him around in the press box and re-waive him when Schlemko is ready to come back.  That flip will probably come sometime next month.

Could he be dealt if another team wants him with Montreal either retaining salary or taking a similar contract back?  Sure, it’s possible.  I think GM Marc Bergevin would be open to it but at the same time, I don’t think he’s looking to give him away either.  (Yes, they’d have done so had he been claimed but because of the contract, he was a safe bet to clear.)  Schlemko is going to get some regular minutes with Laval for now but I’d be surprised if he’s still with the Rocket a month from now – chances are he’ll be back in Montreal by then.