A return to home ice yielded some positive results for Laval which allowed them to move them out of the basement of the North Division for the time being.
The Week That Was
Feb. 20: Crunch 4, Rocket 2 – This was the end of a lengthy stint on the road for Laval and it showed as they never were able to get on track after allowing a pair in the first period less than a minute apart. Dale Weise picked up his first goal with Laval while Maxim Lamarche had his first tally in more than three months in the losing effort.
Feb. 22: Rocket 3, Moose 0 – Michael McNiven delivered his second straight strong performance between the pipes while Laval as a whole had one of their better defensive efforts as of late. Special teams made a big difference in this one as the Rocket scored both on the power play and shorthanded while Lamarche added his second in as many games as well.
Feb. 23: Rocket 3, Moose 1 – Charlie Lindgren had a nice bounce-back performance, snapping a streak of four straight starts where he allowed three or more goals in each. Laval once again was able to score shorthanded as Weise potted one while down a man early on. Xavier Ouellet missed this one due to a death in the family and his absence was felt as the defence struggled, particularly in the latter stages of the game.
Goals: Byron Froese (14)
Assists: Alex Belzile (29)
Points: Alex Belzile (42)
+/-: Alzner/Lamarche/Lernout (+8)
PIMS: Alex Belzile (62)
Shots: Alex Belzile (130)
News And Notes
– Dale Weise’s recall to the Habs on Monday wasn’t surprising but it’s worth noting that it was done before the 3 PM EST cutoff that determines eligibility for the rest of the year. As a result, he can’t be sent back down this season.
– Just a week after being released, forward Marc-Olivier Roy is back for his second (and final) PTO with the team. Laval has also signed winger Joe Cox (Florida, ECHL) to a PTO deal. He sits second in ECHL scoring this season. He’s needed with the trade of Michael Chaput and Nikita Jevpalovs’ undisclosed injury.
– Lukas Vejdemo is on a nice little run offensively as of late with five points over his last six games. This comes on the heels of a stretch where he had just two points in his previous 11 contests.
Last Game’s Lines:
Audette – Evans – Weise
Belzile – Chaput – Grenier
Kile – Vejdemo – Alain
Pezzetta – Martineau – Adams-Moisan
Alzner – Lernout
Culkin – Fleury
Sklenicka – Lamarche
The Week Ahead
Feb. 28/Mar. 1: at Cleveland – After their two-game stretch at home (their longest in over a month), the Rocket are back on the road again for a pair of contests against the Monsters. It’s their third back-to-back stretch of the season and each time, they’ve been split. Cleveland sits four points ahead of Laval in the North Division so this is a pair of games they’ll need to get in regulation if they want to give themselves some cushion for staying out of last place.
Given Marc Bergevin’s complete indifference to keeping Laval stocked with even AHL-calibre players, I shouldn’t have been expecting much from him at the deadline. However, I thought that he might be able to use Montreal’s contract slots to pick up a fringe player or two for future considerations (that ultimately amount to nothing), not unlike the Vincent Praplan and Alex Broadhurst deals. Would these have been additions that really moved the needle? Probably not. Would they have been an upgrade on the ever-weakening cast of players that are being used to fill out four healthy forward lines on a night to night basis? Undoubtedly. In Bergevin’s tenure, he hasn’t hesitated to make incremental upgrades to the point where he’s often criticized for it. (Personally, I think it’s smart – take any upgrade you can get, no matter how small it may be.) I’d be really curious to find out why he continually declines to exercise that same philosophy when it comes to stocking his AHL teams and time and time again passes up on moves that could make this team better (something that would certainly help their player development).