At some point, the lack of offensive talent in Laval was going to catch up with them despite their decent play in recent weeks. The final week of March turned out to be when the struggles returned.
The Week That Was
Mar. 27: Devils 5, Rocket 1 – Considering Binghamton was in a massive funk and their starting goalie was up in New Jersey, this was a very winnable game for the Rocket. They didn’t really show up for it. Add that to a rare off night from Connor LaCouvee and you get a blowout.
Mar. 29: Americans 4, Rocket 2 – The first period wasn’t bad. The second period was a lot worse as Laval had just a single shot on goal. Michael McNiven kept them in it and an early power play goal tied it up but they weren’t able to get the go-ahead goal and Tage Thompson, who had just been re-assigned by Buffalo, took over as he scored the final two goals.
Mar. 30: Marlies 3, Rocket 0 – This game featured a veteran-laden squad against a very young one. Let’s just say experience ruled the day and move on, shall we?
Goals: Alex Belzile (17)
Assists: Alex Belzile (35)
Points: Alex Belzile (52)
+/-: Alzner/Sklenicka/Vejdemo (+5)
PIMS: Alex Belzile (76)
Shots: Alex Belzile (164)
News And Notes
– The most exciting news of the week came when Josh Brook was re-assigned by the Habs to join Laval following his elimination in the WHL. He got into the game on Saturday and is expected to log heavy minutes over the final couple of weeks of the season.
– A trio of players have signed amateur tryout agreements. Cayden Primeau is the most exciting of the bunch although he’s not expected to play. Meanwhile, 2018 sixth-rounder Samuel Houde has also joined the team along with undrafted free agent Matt Struthers from North Bay of the OHL.
– Laval released Marc-Olivier Roy from his PTO deal and recalled Phelix Martineau from Fort Wayne of the ECHL. Defenceman Ryan Culkin was returned to Maine of the ECHL.
Last Game’s Lines:
Jevpalovs – Evans – Belzile
Kile – Audette – Grenier
Shinkaruk – Pezzetta – Alain
Roy – Verbeek – Adams-Moisan
Alzner – Fleury
Ouellet – Brook
Lamarche – Lernout
The Week Ahead
Apr. 3/5: vs Cleveland – It’s the final two games of the matchup this season, one that has been split with Laval winning each of the first games and Cleveland each of the second ones. The Monsters are one point out of the final playoff spot and have only lost once in regulation in their last ten games.
Apr. 6: vs Hershey – The final home game of the year is another tough one as Hershey has rebounded from a rough start to put themselves in a spot where a win in this one could clinch them a playoff spot. The Bears are one of the lowest-scoring teams in the conference (14th out of 16 teams). For anyone wondering, Laval is 16th.
I have to admit, I don’t quite understand why the decision has already been made to sit Cayden Primeau for the final two weeks. Why bring him in in the first place then? Why not just let him finish his courses at Northeastern instead?
There are benefits to having players simply practice with the team but those are evident more for skaters than they are for goalies who are basically going to work predominantly with the goalie coach. This isn’t a situation where they need to evaluate him as they’re doing with Matt Struthers (and Samuel Houde, to a lesser degree as he isn’t signed and probably won’t be anytime soon). So why is he there exactly? Is it to get the pro experience which will consist of a few bus rides and staying at someone’s apartment for a couple of weeks?
I get that they want to get a look at Connor LaCouvee to see if he’s worthy of a contract but they can still do that and at least give Primeau a token appearance. It’s not like they have anything to lose. Throw him a bone…make having a game be the real memory, not just the opportunity to taste popcorn in multiple professional arenas.