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Before the All-Star break arrived, Laval had a pair of games last week against division-leading Toronto.  With some reinforcements from the infirmary and the Habs, the Rocket picked up a split to hold onto the final play-in spot in the North.

The Week That Was

Feb. 3: Toronto 4, Laval 1 – Even with several key veterans returning, things seemed out of sync for the Rocket.  The one bright spot for Laval was Peter Abbandonato snapping a 20-game goal drought; impressively, he has been second on the team in points for the last few weeks in spite of that stat.

Feb. 4: Laval 7, Toronto 3 – This one went much better for the Rocket who popped three in the first period and didn’t look back.  They eventually chased starter Keith Petruzelli before the midway mark and by then, they had enough of a lead to hold on.  Laval got two empty-netters to make the score look a bit more lopsided than it really was; Cayden Primeau had a strong outing for the second straight night.



# Player GP G A +/- SOG PIMS
5 Tory Dello 2 0 1 +1 1 2
6 Corey Schueneman 2 0 2 +2 2 0
8 Madison Bowey 2 1 1 -1 4 4
20 Gabriel Bourque 2 1 0 +3 4 0
22 Alex Belzile 2 1 0 -1 2 2
24 Joel Teasdale 1 0 0 -1 4 0
26 Jesse Ylonen 2 1 2 +3 1 0
27 Mitchell Stephens 2 0 0 -2 6 0
37 Brandon Gignac 2 1 0 +1 2 0
38 Nate Schnarr 2 0 0 -1 3 2
42 Lucas Condotta 2 0 0 -1 4 5
44 Olivier Galipeau 2 0 2 +1 2 2
58 Santino Centorame 2 0 0 +1 2 0
81 Xavier Simoneau 2 0 2 +2 0 0
84 William Trudeau 2 0 0 E 2 0
85 John Parker-Jones 1 0 0 E 0 2
90 Anthony Richard 2 0 0 -1 4 0
92 Pierrick Dube 2 1 1 +1 4 2
98 Peter Abbandonato 2 2 1 +3 5 0


# Player Record GAA SV% SO
31 Cayden Primeau 1-1-0 3.02 .917 0

Team Leaders:

Goals: Anthony Richard (22)
Assists: Peter Abbandonato (24)
Points: Anthony Richard (42)
+/-: Corey Schueneman (+9)
PIMS: William Trudeau (42)
Shots: Anthony Richard (131)

News And Notes

– With the Habs being off, they were able to send down Alex Belzile and Jesse Ylonen to give the forward group a boost (at least in the short term).  More on this later on.

– On the injury front, Tory Dello and Madison Bowey both returned to bolster the back end while winger Gabriel Bourque came back as well.  However, Mattias Norlinder missed both games due to illness.

– As a result of these returns, defenceman Eric Williams was released from his PTO deal while Anthony Beauregard and Ryan Francis were returned to Trois-Rivieres of the ECHL.

– It appears as if it will be Cayden Primeau’s net for the next little while as the latest medical update from the team indicated that Kevin Poulin needed further medical evaluation.  Usually, in those situations, the evaluation doesn’t lead to a quick return.

Last Game’s Lines:

Richard – Belzile – Teasdale
Bourque – Abbandonato – Ylonen
Condotta – Stephens – Schnarr
Simoneau – Gignac – Dube

Trudeau – Schueneman
Dello – Bowey
Galipeau – Centorame

The Week Ahead

Friday – vs Syracuse – From one top-scoring team to another as Toronto and Syracuse are tied for the most goals in the conferrence.  Alex Barre-Boulet sits third in the AHL in scoring this season while one of their defencemen (Darren Raddysh) has more points than anyone on the Rocket as well.  The two sides have split the first four games of the season series but two of Laval’s top scorers in those matchups (Rem Pitlick and Rafael Harvey-Pinard) are up with the Habs.

Saturday – vs Utica – While the Comets sit second in the division, Laval has done well against them this season, taking all three meetings.  Utica has lost four straight (although the All-Star break likely wipes out any carryover effect) which has helped tighten up the standings; there’s just a seven-point gap between second and fifth.  Anthony Richard has been quite productive in their head-to-head matchups, picking up eight points over the three contests.

Final Thought

When the Habs sent Alex Belzile and Jesse Ylonen back to Laval, some wondered why they were the only two.  After all, Justin Barron (who was set to play in the AHL All-Star Game and was ultimately replaced by Belzile) and Rafael Harvey-Pinard were still up with the Canadiens.  But there was a reason there were only two players sent down.

Even though Montreal is off until the 11th, they still had to carry a minimum-sized roster of 18 ‘healthy’ skaters.  I say ‘healthy’ as the Canadiens were somewhat creative in who they called healthy.  Cole Caufield is on their active roster even though he had shoulder surgery last week.  Joel Edmundson hasn’t played since getting hurt on January 26th but he’s also on the active roster as a healthy player.  That’s what allowed Belzile and Ylonen to go down.  Otherwise, they’d have had to stay up (or someone else would have had to be recalled) to stay compliant with the roster minimums.

Belzile made sense if for no other reason than to stall out the waiver clock while Ylonen was being outplayed by Barron and Harvey-Pinard so he drew the short straw.  Now, will those two be recalled or will someone else get an opportunity after the break?  We’ll find out soon enough.