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Rocket Repo’d by Springfield to close out homestand

The Laval Rocket closed out their five game homestand at Place Bell with a pair of losses to the Florida Panthers’ AHL affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds last Friday and Saturday. Laval played solid hockey throughout the five games, they put in the effort but were rewarded with only two wins in the five games. “The guys have been dialed in, they’ve been great understanding,” Rocket head coach Joël Bouchard said. “I don’t think they think it’s funny and we don’t think it’s funny but at the end of the day we’re all smart enough to realize the guys are working hard, the chances are there, it’s just where we’re at right now.” On Saturday, the T-Birds picked-up a 4-2 win on the strength of a first star performance by goalie Chris Driedger, who turned aside 38 of 40 shots and a second star effort from Sebastian Repo with a Gordie Howe hattrick of a fight an assist and a goal-that proved to be the game winner. The Rocket’s claimed the third star as Kenny Agostino accounted for both Laval tallies, the first a highlight reel marker while on the powerplay. The speedy Agostino broke through a pair of Thunderbirds defence corps, with the duo missing their intended target and taking themselves out of the play. Agostino raced in and labelled the top left-hand corner to knot the score at 1-1. “It was a three—quarter breakout and they (the defence) were caught flatfooted at the blueline,” Kenny Agostino said. “I found some space and put it upstairs.” In the third with Michael McNiven off in favour of the extra-attacker, Laval pulled to within one as Agostino one-timed a laser from the right point on a pass from Brett Kulak. With the clock winding down, the Rocket pressed for the equalizer, but Springfield managed an empty netter by Joel Lowry with five seconds remaining. As for the way things are going for the team, “We have a lot of young guys and it’s just incredible as to how quickly they’ve adapted,” Agostino said. “Joël (coach Bouchard) and his entire staff have done such a good job teaching us the right way to play. I think this could be a really scary team down the stretch.” Laval is on the road for two games this week against North Division rivals as last night they faced the Toronto Marlies and Saturday they will take to the ice at the Blue Cross Arena to take on the Rochester Americans.

Rob Amyot The Suburban 

Montrealer Khem Birch of the Orlando Magic didn't get to enjoy a lot of court time at home as a first quarter injury limited his playing time to 3:59.