While Laval’s roster currently features many players that have spent time at the ECHL level this season, they managed to put together one of their more successful weeks, picking up five of six points to move back into the final play-in spot for the time being.
The Week That Was
Jan. 18: Laval 5, Rochester 2 – After losing to the Americans the previous week, the Rocket got off to a much better start in this one, scoring twice in the first plus twice more in the first eight minutes of the second period to give themselves an early cushion and a bit less pressure on Kevin Poulin. Santino Centorame picked up his first career AHL point in this one.
Jan. 20: Laval 3, Hershey 2 (OT) – Laval peppered Zach Fucale early and often in this one but the former Hab prospect had a strong game. There was only one player that beat him all night and that was Joel Teasdale. He scored twice in the second period to erase an early deficit while potting the winner with a little more than a minute left in overtime to pick up the extra point.
Jan. 21: Toronto 4, Laval 3 (SO) – Special teams for both sides got quite a workout as there were 14 power plays in this one between the two sides. Each team managed to score twice with the man advantage while Anthony Beauregard added his first AHL tally since the season finale of the 2017-18 season. The Rocket managed to get it to a shootout but the Marlies picked up the extra goal and the extra point.
Shootout – Skaters:
Shootout – Goalies:
Goals: Anthony Richard (20)
Assists: Abbandonato/Richard (20)
Points: Anthony Richard (40)
+/-: Beaudin/Dello/Schueneman (+7)
PIMS: William Trudeau (40)
Shots: Rafael Harvey-Pinard (121)
News And Notes
– Laval swapped out backup goalies, sending Joe Vrbetic down to Trois-Rivieres of the ECHL while recalling Philippe Desrosiers. If Kevin Poulin is going to continue to get the bulk of the playing time, it’s better to let the prospect (Vrbetic) get game action with the Lions.
– With Alex Belzile getting recalled to Montreal, Laval recalled forward Ryan Francis from the Lions. This wasn’t his first taste of AHL action, however, as he got into four games with Calgary’s farm team last season.
– Xavier Simoneau’s goal against Toronto was his first in two months, spanning 15 games (he was injured for some others as well).
– Brandon Gignac has resumed skating with the team while blueliners Tory Dello and Madison Bowey are expected back before the All-Star break so there’s a bit of help on the horizon at least.
Last Game’s Lines:
Richard – Stephens – Simoneau
Teasdale – Abbandonato – Bourque
Condotta – Schnarr – Dube
Francis – Beauregard – Parker-Jones
Trudeau – Schueneman
Norlinder – Williams
Galipeau – Centorame
The Week Ahead
Wednesday – vs Belleville – This game takes on a bit more importance with the Rocket holding the second play-in spot and the Sens being one of the two teams trying to get that spot. Belleville has had Laval’s number this season, taking five of their first seven matchups with former Rocket Jake Lucchini and Egor Sokolov notching ten points already. Belleville just got Jacob Bernard-Docker back on the back end although they’ve lost Ridly Greig to Ottawa with Josh Norris now out for the season.
Friday/Saturday – at Cleveland – The Monsters are the other team chasing Laval for the final play-in spot so it’s fair to say these will be key games in the battle for that spot. Laval has taken three of five matchups so far despite Trey Fix-Wolansky averaging more than two points per game in these contests; they’ll need to find a way to shut him down. Cleveland now has their top goaltender back as Daniil Tarasov was recently re-assigned so goals are going to be a little harder to come by for Laval who has averaged four per game in the head-to-head so far.
Sometimes, there’s a prospect I find myself flipping back and forth on a lot. Joel Teasdale is one of those. He’s rated quite low in our prospect rankings (I promise you, I haven’t forgotten them, they will start being posted fairly soon) as his playoff performance left a lot to be desired and there was some uncertainty if he’d even be qualified in the summer.
Obviously, he was but the start to his season left a lot to be desired. For someone that’s on his second contract, him being on the fourth line wasn’t the type of start he should have been hoping for so he started to gravitate more toward the likely castaway pile. However, in recent weeks, his scoring touch has returned as he has nine goals in his last 13 games. Even if you take away the hat trick against Hershey, six tallies in a dozen contests isn’t bad by any stretch.
Years ago, I thought Teasdale was well on his way to being a fourth liner in the NHL. He’s an energetic forward that rarely takes a shift off and can kill penalties. Considering Montreal’s fourth line has basically been a mishmash of fillers for a lot of the year, it’s not as if there isn’t a spot up for grabs. Can he find a way to improve (or overcome) his skating struggles? If so, it might not be time to count Teasdale out just yet.