After a tough week against Ottawa’s farm team, Laval bounced back nicely last week, picking up three of four points against Texas before going into Toronto and securing a crucial victory over the Marlies despite a thinned-out roster.
The Week That Was
Dec. 1: Stars 4, Rocket 3 (OT) – Through 40 minutes, Laval wasn’t able to muster up much and were down a pair. However, they put together one of their strongest periods of the season in the third period and eventually were able to tie it up late when Laurent Dauphin picked up his tenth goal of the season. That got them one point but that was all they’d manage as Ty Dellandrea picked up the winner in the opening minute of overtime.
Dec. 3: Rocket 4, Stars 3 (OT) – This time, Laval started a little stronger and faded at the end of regulation. A late goal from Jean-Sebastien Dea in the second gave the Rocket the lead heading into the third and they held that advantage for all but eight seconds; Anthony Louis’ goal in the dying seconds forced overtime in a period where Laval was outshot 13-3. This time, it was the home side that left happy as Brandon Gignac picked up his second of the season to give the Rocket the extra point.
Dec. 5: Rocket 5, Marlies 1 – Last week, we looked at how Laval’s goalies were often either really bad or really good in a game. Cayden Primeau was definitely the latter in this one, keeping Toronto at bay while the Rocket took advantage of Petr Mrazek’s rust to get four goals behind him (the other was an empty-netter). Alex Belzile scored for the first time since his first game of the season roughly six weeks ago.
Goals: Laurent Dauphin (11)
Assists: Paquette-Bisson/Ylonen (10)
Points: Laurent Dauphin (16)
+/-: Michael Pezzetta (+7)
PIMS: Louis Belpedio (43)
Shots: Laurent Dauphin (61)
News And Notes
– While Corey Schueneman and Laurent Dauphin were sent back down by the Habs soon after their recalls, neither of them were available for the game against Toronto. Dauphin, meanwhile, has since been recalled again with Tyler Toffoli out and this time, he might be sticking around for a little bit.
– Laval recalled Peter Abbandonato from Trois-Rivieres. He’s off to a nice start with the Lions, leading the team in scoring with 23 points in 17 games. He had 15 points in 28 AHL contests last season and could be an intriguing addition to a shorthanded lineup.
– There will be a bit of help coming on the injury front as Jean-Christophe Beaudin is likely to play on Wednesday, giving the Rocket some extra depth down the middle. Josh Brook and Joel Teasdale are both out for a while yet with returns anticipated in January.
Last Game’s Lines:
Bourque – Dea – Ylonen
Harvey-Pinard – Vejdemo – Belzile
Martel – Gignac- Roy
Baddock – Hillis- Fortin
Amorosa – Belpedio
Paquette-Bisson – Neill
Dello – Beaudoin
The Week Ahead
Dec. 8: vs Manitoba – Winners of eight of their last ten, the Moose are one of the hottest teams in the league right now. They’re one of the stingiest defensive teams in the league while Laval has allowed the most goals of any team so far. Cole Perfetti seems likely to be loaned for the World Juniors after getting off to a strong start for Manitoba as he leads the way offensively for them with 15 points in 17 games.
Dec. 10: at Rochester – The Amerks are the top-scoring team in the AHL which makes that stat about Laval’s goals allowed a tad worrisome. Jack Quinn and J.J. Peterka – both rookies – are lighting it up offensively while Mark Jankowski was near a point per game mark before being converted to an NHL contract. The Rocket could catch a small break with Rochester starter Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen currently up with the Sabres.
Dec. 12: at Hershey – The Bears are more of a veteran-laden team and, for the most part, the veterans haven’t been producing much. Matt Moulson has just two goals on the season while Michal Kempny, once part of Washington’s top four on the back end, has been a role player in the minors this season. Former Hab prospect Zach Fucale is splitting starts with veteran Pheonix Copley with Fucale having considerably better numbers between the pipes.
One prospect that I had high expectations for this season was Rafael Harvey-Pinard. After being one of the last cuts at training camp, I thought he’d get off to a strong start and be one of the first recalls and with the state of Montreal’s forward group at the moment, it’s not like there aren’t opportunities to be brought up. However, he hasn’t been quite as noticeable this season, especially in terms of the frequency with which he gets to the dirty areas. I don’t want to say he’s playing poorly – he isn’t – but I was hoping to see some progression instead of something closer to stagnation. It’s still early and there’s plenty of time to rebound; hopefully for his sake, a steadier role in the top six with all of the injuries and recalls can help get him going a bit more and in the process, move him up the ladder in terms of who gets a chance with the Habs next.