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The third week of the season was one to forget for Laval.  They had two road games and struggled both defensively and in goal for both of them.  That’s not an ideal combination and the end result was two more losses.

The Week That Was

Oct. 27: Americans 7, Rocket 4 – The defence was productive early in this one with Mattias Norlinder and Logan Mailloux scoring before the midway mark of the first but Laval was trailing after 20 minutes and things went downhill from there.  While Lias Andersson had two more to increase his league lead, a rough night for Jakub Dobes was too much to come back from.

Oct. 28: Crunch 5, Rocket 0 – This time, the offence was shut down with Carolina sending Pyotr Kochetkov back in time for him to make the start for Syracuse.  That, coupled with a season-low 19 shots, resulted in an off night on that side of the ice for Laval.  Meanwhile, Strauss Mann didn’t fare any better than Dobes in net.  Goaltending was a big question mark for Laval heading into the year and it’s an area that has hurt them so far.



# Player GP G A +/- SOG PIMS
3 Jayden Struble 2 0 0 -3 0 2
4 Tobie Bisson 2 0 0 -1 1 4
10 Joshua Roy 2 0 1 E 8 0
13 Nicolas Beaudin 1 0 0 -1 0 2
14 Jan Mysak 2 0 0 -1 1 0
15 Sean Farrell 2 0 1 +1 2 0
17 Nathan Legare 2 0 0 -3 1 0
21 Riley Kidney 1 0 0 -1 2 0
24 Logan Mailloux 2 1 0 -2 9 4
27 Mitchell Stephens 2 0 1 -1 4 2
28 Lias Andersson 2 2 0 +1 8 0
29 Mattias Norlinder 2 1 0 -1 3 0
37 Brandon Gignac 2 0 0 -5 7 0
42 Lucas Condotta 2 0 1 E 5 0
44 Olivier Galipeau 1 0 2 +1 0 2
61 Philippe Maillet 2 0 0 -6 2 0
68 Riley McKay 2 0 0 -1 0 6
81 Xavier Simoneau 2 0 1 E 0 0
84 William Trudeau 2 0 1 -2 3 0
85 John Parker-Jones 1 0 0 -1 3 0


# Player Record GAA SV% SO
38 Strauss Mann 0-1-0 5.00 .821 0
71 Jakub Dobes 0-1-0 6.18 .854 0

Team Leaders:

Goals: Lias Andersson (7)
Assists: Joshua Roy (7)
Points: Joshua Roy (12)
+/-: Condotta/Keeper (+4)
PIMS: Riley McKay (17)
Shots: Joshua Roy (28)

News and Notes

– After having five extra forwards to start the season, Laval had to recall one less than three weeks later.  John Parker-Jones got the call from Trois-Rivieres and made his season debut on Saturday against Syracuse.

– Captain Gabriel Bourque underwent knee surgery early in the week with an expected recovery timeline of six to eight weeks.

– Defenceman Brady Keeper, who was injured last week, was back at practice this week.  He didn’t play but the fact he’s on the ice suggests he shouldn’t be that far away from a return.

Last Game’s Lines:

Gignac – Stephens – Andersson
Roy – Condotta – Farrell
Simoneau – Maillet – Legare
McKay – Mysak – Parker-Jones

Struble – Beaudin
Bisson – Mailloux
Norlinder – Trudeau

The Week Ahead

Wednesday vs Utica – The Comets have had a rough start to their season, dropping four of their first five games.  New Jersey added Erik Kallgren to help shore up Utica’s goaltending but the former Marlie has struggled mightily thus far, putting up numbers that are worse than Laval’s duo (there aren’t many that can be said for).  Veteran Max Willman leads the way in scoring after a successful training camp with the Devils earned him a two-way deal.

Friday/Saturday vs Toronto – The Marlies have some firepower with Alex Steeves, Nick Robertson, and Joseph Blandisi all averaging a point per game or better while Logan Shaw, another former Hab, is just behind them.  Toronto just added Kieffer Bellows on a PTO as well.  The Marlies are one of the rare teams that run a three-goalie rotation, headlined by veteran Martin Jones.  As a result, they’re near the top of the North Division standings.

Final Thought

There’s a reason that young teams often don’t have success in the minors, especially right away, and we’re seeing why that’s the case in the early going with Laval.  With unproven goaltending, you need some strong blueliners to help ease that impact.  While on paper, Laval’s back end is pretty good, the reality is that four of their regulars are on entry-level deals and two of them aren’t exactly known for playing well in their own zone.  (Put Nicolas Beaudin in there and it’s three offence-only options.)

There are two solutions to this.  One is to go out and get more veteran blueliners to shore things up.  Considering Montreal’s commitment to player development, that’s not the way they’re going to go.  They’re going to take the harder approach, one that will be the better one for the long term.  Basically, they’re going to let the youngsters continue to play and ideally, learn from and improve upon their mistakes.  How long will that take?  It could take a few weeks for improvement to show but it could be months.  It might not happen at all if you want to lean toward the pessimistic side.

Personally, I thought Laval would struggle out of the gate because of this but not to this extent.  They look lost in their own end and that, coupled with sub-par goaltending performances, is always going to equal trouble.  I think they can turn it around with time but they’re going to need to find a way to sneak out a win here and there as well so they don’t find themselves too far out of the playoff mix early.  Just three weeks in, it’s hard to say that the next few games are really important but that might just be the case here.