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The second-last week of the regular season saw Laval taking on one of the top teams in the North Division for a pair of games.  They managed a split and while that hurt their playoff chances, they still have a viable path to the postseason.

The Week That Was

Apr. 11: Cleveland 6, Laval 4 – Things couldn’t have gotten off to a better start with Mitchell Stephens scoring on the first shift of the game with Lucas Condotta adding one five minutes later.  But this time, the Rocket followed the lead of the Habs, blowing that lead with an ugly second period, one that saw they allow four goals.  To their credit, Laval tied it up in the third but the Monsters got one back less than 90 seconds later, taking the lead for good and dealing a big blow to Laval’s playoff hopes.

Apr. 13: Laval 5, Cleveland 1 – For the second straight game, Condotta got one early to help give the Rocket the lead after 20 minutes.  They were a lot sharper in the middle stanza this time around with Lias Andersson’s first of two in the dying minutes extending the lead going to the third.  The strong defensive effort continued as Cleveland was held to just six shots in the final frame, allowing the Rocket to secure the victory.



# Player GP G A +/- SOG PIMS
4 Tobie Bisson 2 1 0 +2 3 0
12 Filip Cederqvist 2 0 1 +4 3 0
15 Sean Farrell 2 0 1 -1 3 0
16 Arnaud Durandeau 2 0 1 +1 5 0
19 Emil Heineman 2 2 1 -1 7 0
20 Gabriel Bourque 2 0 0 -1 1 4
21 Riley Kidney 2 0 0 -1 2 0
24 Logan Mailloux 2 0 3 -1 3 0
27 Mitchell Stephens 1 1 0 E 1 0
28 Lias Andersson 2 2 1 +2 4 0
29 Mattias Norlinder 2 0 2 +3 1 0
34 Jacob Perreault 2 0 0 E 0 5
37 Brandon Gignac 1 0 0 -1 0 0
42 Lucas Condotta 2 2 0 +1 2 0
44 Olivier Galipeau 2 0 1 +4 3 4
52 Justin Barron 1 1 0 -1 3 0
61 Philippe Maillet 2 1 3 +1 4 0
63 Florian Xhekaj 1 0 0 -1 1 0
64 David Reinbacher 2 0 0 -1 1 0
68 Riley McKay 2 0 0 -2 0 0
84 William Trudeau 2 0 0 -5 6 0


# Player Record GAA SV% SO
71 Jakub Dobes 1-1-0 3.06 .893 0

Team Leaders:

Goals: Philippe Maillet (21)
Assists: Brandon Gignac (36)
Points: Brandon Gignac (55)
+/-: Bisson/Galipeau (+20)
PIMS: Riley McKay (136)
Shots: Logan Mailloux (147)

News and Notes

– With Florian Xhekaj joining the team on a tryout deal, forward Jakov Novak was returned to ECHL Trois-Rivieres just a day after being recalled.  Chris Jandric was also sent down for the Lions’ playoff run.

– Luke Tuch signed a one-way deal with the Rocket, meaning he’ll be eligible to play down the stretch and in the playoffs if Laval qualifies.

– Jacob Perreault will miss at least the final two regular season games with an upper-body injury.  Meanwhile, Brandon Gignac (lower body) and Mitchell Stephens (upper body) are listed as day-to-day.

– As expected, the Habs returned Jayden Struble and Justin Barron to Laval.  Logan Mailloux was also sent down after being recalled to make his NHL debut.  Joshua Roy is also officially back with the team after missing the last month in Montreal.

Last Game’s Lines

Andersson – Maillet – Heineman
Farrell – Kidney – Perreault
Durandeau – Condotta – Cederqvist
McKay – Xhekaj – Bourque

Trudeau – Mailloux
Paquette-Bisson – Reinbacher
Norlinder – Galipeau

The Week Ahead

Friday/Saturday at/vs Belleville – Talk about a compelling schedule.  Laval needs to catch the Senators for the final play-in spot and that’s who they face in both games.  Laval has six victories out of ten so far, five of which have come in regulation.  That regulation part is important as not only does the Rocket need to win both games, they have to win both in regulation.  They’re four points behind the Sens but have the tiebreaker so if Belleville gets a single point, Laval is eliminated.

Final Thought

At the beginning of the season, I was relatively optimistic about Laval’s playoff hopes.  While I thought they would struggle early on, I figured by the second half, they’d be one of the better teams and could make up any ground they lost.

It’s safe to say that hasn’t gone as planned.  I wasn’t expecting Jakub Dobes to struggle as much as he did early on which put them in worse shape than I think anyone would have guessed.  (Though full credit to him, he has stolen enough games since then to make up for it.)  I didn’t expect them to wait until near midseason to get a viable backup goalie either.

But the biggest surprise has been the offence.  Early on, they had no problems scoring.  Now, with an offensive group that has been added to as of late, they’ve struggled; getting even 25 shots a night has been a challenge lately.  That’s hard to believe.

Either way, what has been a topsy turvy regular season will come to an end on Saturday.  They still largely control their fate, barring Utica winning three games against tough opponents (if that happens, they would be ahead of the Rocket).  We’ll find out if they can pull off a pair of wins when it counts the most to guarantee themselves at least two more games in a best-of-three opening round.