After an extended break due to COVID, Laval – or at least what was left of them – resumed their season last week. Despite missing many key regulars, they still impressed with a pair of victories in their three games.
The Week That Was
Jan. 12: Rocket 3, Crunch 2 – In a game that featured one skater under contract to Montreal, the supporting cast got the job done as Alexandre Fortin scored in the first period and Brandon Gignac added a shorthanded marker in the second to restore the one-goal lead before former Hab Charles Hudon picked up the equalizer. However, in the end, it was that one NHL-signed skater – J-S Dea – that got the winner in the third, allowing Laval to skate away with somewhat of an improbable victory.
Jan. 14: Rocket 4, Thunderbirds 3 – This one didn’t get off to a great start as Springfield picked up a pair in the first and carried a two-goal lead heading into the third. But Laval was able to come back with Fortin and Tobie Paquette-Bisson scoring, the latter goal coming with under four minutes left in regulation. That took the teams to overtime and set the stage for Dea to be the hero again as he potted the winner in the first minute. Justin Ducharme had the other goal for the Rocket, his first career AHL tally.
Jan. 15: Wolf Pack 4, Rocket 0 – Laval didn’t have their skating legs which is understandable given it was their third game in four nights after being off for a month with travel in between. Even so, the game wasn’t as lopsided as the score might indicate as the final two goals were scored into the empty net.
|28||Shawn St. Amant||2||0||0||-1||1||0|
Goals: Laurent Dauphin (11)
Assists: Paquette-Bisson/Ylonen (10)
Points: Laurent Dauphin (16)
+/-: Rafael Harvey-Pinard (+10)
PIMS: Louie Belpedio (51)
Shots: Danick Martel (69)
News And Notes
– There have been a lot of roster moves made but here are some of the notable recent ones. Jesse Ylonen, Rafael Harvey-Pinard, Gianni Fairbrother, and Alex Belzile are all back from Montreal while Michael McNiven is up with the Canadiens. (And with Jake Allen hurt, this is Kevin Poulin’s crease for a little while.) Louis-Philip Guindon is the current backup netminder.
– Brandon Gignac suffered a hand injury while Joel Teasdale and Xavier Ouellet have both returned to practice, albeit with non-contact jerseys.
– Devante Smith-Pelly has signed a PTO with the Rocket. He played in just 14 games last season with AHL Ontario and as the Habs send some players back to Laval, his spot in the lineup will come into question. In the meantime, he’s a useful depth pickup for Laval.
Last Game’s Lines:
Martel – Gignac – Roy
Baddock – Dea – Bourque
Ducharme – Beaudin – Fortin
Abbandonato – Hillis – St. Amant
Amorosa – Dello
Paquette-Bisson – Belpedio
Galipeau – Beaudoin
The Week Ahead
Jan. 19: vs Utica – It’s a light week on the schedule for Laval as there are still some cancellations to work around as the AHL is in the middle of re-working their schedule. The Devils have won both matchups so far and this will be the first of three matchups in their next five so the Rocket will need to figure out a way to get some points against the North Division leaders. New Jersey recently got some players back from COVID protocol and the end result is that Utica is only missing one of their top-ten scorers so this one will be a challenge for Laval.
When Cam Hillis was sent back following his stint in COVID protocol, I thought he was going to have an opportunity to play a bigger role with the Rocket since they were basically out of players. Nope. Instead, they played him with ECHL players and had other players from Trois-Rivieres ahead of him in the lineup. This has to be at least a little concerning. I didn’t think he looked out of place in his one NHL contest and he wasn’t overmatched in the handful of games he has had with Laval this season. By no means has he been dominant or anything like that but to see him playing this little even with all of the players missing has to be cause for concern. Halfway through his entry-level deal, he should be higher on the depth chart than he is and I think he has done enough to warrant at least some time on the third line. Hopefully, J-F Houle is able to give him a shot in that role at some point which would go a long way towards determining whether he’s still a viable prospect or someone that isn’t likely to last too long with this organization.