Laval didn’t get off to a great start in their final stretch of 2019 but they ended the year on a high note with a pair of victories against division rivals.
The Week That Was
Dec. 27: Marlies 3, Rocket 2 – Toronto has lost a few players to NHL recalls but they’re still a very deep team that’s capable of scoring in bunches. Laval got a good look at that in this one as the Marlies put up three goals in less than a minute in the second period which was all they needed. Evan McEneny picked his first goal of the season for the Rocket in the loss.
Dec. 28: Rocket 6, Marlies 1 – Yannick Veilleux was not a big scorer in his previous time with Montreal’s farm teams. Yet, his goal to open up this contest was his third in as many games. That helped set the stage for a nice day offensively as they chased starter Joseph Woll with five goals before the midway mark of the second period. The last of those goals came from Ralph Cuddemi who picked up his first career AHL tally.
Dec. 31: Rocket 4, Senators 3 (SO) – Preserving leads has been an issue for Laval and it came back to bite them again. They had a 3-0 lead in the third period after Charles Hudon scored a power play goal but Belleville stormed back with three in the final frame to send it to overtime. While Dale Weise got the shootout winner, it’s disappointing that it got that far considering the Sens are a team they need to catch to get back into a playoff spot.
Shootout – Skaters:
Shootout – Goalies:
Goals: Charles Hudon (15)
Assists: Jake Evans (17)
Points: Barber/Evans (24)
+/-: Noah Juulsen (+5)
PIMS: Michael McCarron (50)
Shots: Charles Hudon (87)
News And Notes
– For a change, Laval actually got some good news on the injury front. Charles Hudon and Dale Weise returned from their respective injuries (it’s believed that Hudon is still not 100% though) while Karl Alzner was also back after missing the last game due to illness.
– It wasn’t all good news though. William Pelletier had just come back from a concussion but there is some concern that he may have another one after a hit from Ben Harpur of the Marlies. He didn’t play in the final two games of the week.
– Michael McNiven has been recalled to Laval. This is likely related to Winnipeg getting Eric Comrie through waivers to the AHL; the cascading effect is that they sent Griffen Outhouse back to ECHL Jacksonville which made McNiven the third-stringer there. The search for another new spot for him to play begins…
Last Game’s Lines:
Hudon – Evans – Cox
Veilleux – McCarron – Weise
Alain – Lynch – Cuddemi
Jevpalovs – Pezzetta – Waked
Olofsson – Ouellet
Leskinen – McEneny
Alzner – Brook
The Week Ahead
Jan. 3: vs Lehigh Valley – Opportunity knocks for this game as the Phantoms are in last place in the Atlantic Division and have scored the fewest goals of any AHL team. Unfortunately, they got two of their better players back this week when Andy Andreoff cleared waivers after the roster freeze while Morgan Frost was sent down after struggling with the Flyers over the past few weeks.
Jan. 4: vs Syracuse – The Crunch are nipping at the heels of the Rocket for fifth spot in the North Division but have had issues keeping the puck out of their net as they’ve allowed the most goals in the East. Mike Condon recently made his season debut after missing almost all of last year plus the first two months of this season with hip issues. Syracuse recently made a small trade that took away one of their top scorers in Chris Mueller with stay-at-home defender Patrick Sieloff heading the other way.
While the Habs are healthy down the middle to the point where they’re using Ryan Poehling and Lukas Vejdemo on the left wing, it’s hard not to make a case that Jake Evans should have been the one called up to take Brendan Gallagher’s spot on the roster.
After a dreadful start to the season offensively, he has picked up his play considerably in recent weeks. He isn’t a liability defensively which is important for a fourth liner on a Claude Julien-coached team. And from a long-term perspective, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to give him a look since his contract is up at the end of the year where they’ll need to decide if he’s part of the future plans or not.
There’s also the matter of who else was left? Weise is a filler player who at best can give you a few minutes on the fourth line. Charles Hudon had his chance and is playing injured. Michael McCarron would probably be in the press box for his recent stupidity if it weren’t for all of their injuries so they’d be nuts to reward him. That’s the end of the list of healthy forwards in their top-six right now. I’m not a huge fan of playing someone out of position in the NHL but in this case, it may very well have been the lesser evil of the other options and certainly a better one than Weise.