Rocket looking to rebound from tough road trip

Laval outshot Utica 30-19 but were thwarted by Comets’ goalie Michael DiPietro in the Rocket’s 3-2 road loss last week.

Last night the Laval Rocket returned to the ice of Place Bell as they faced off against the first of two games against the Manitoba Moose. Laval is looking to rebound following a difficult road swing where they dropped five contests and are presently 1-6-2-1 over the last 10 games. While the club has been struggling, they are still playing .500 hockey and are within striking distance of a playoff spot in the North Division. The Moose and Rocket will go at it again Friday night with a 7:30 puck drop. Saturday afternoon will be an important divisional battle as the rival Toronto Marlies will play in an afternoon matinee starting a 3:00 pm. That game will see the kids take over as it is the Enfants en Vedette game presented by Sweet Sixteen. Last week, Laval dropped a trio of games losing 3-2 to Utica, 3-1 to the Hartford Wolf Pack and 3-0 to the Providence Bruins. Despite a solid effort and outshooting the Comets 30-19, Laval fell short in the 3-2 loss in Utica. The Rocket established and maintained a high-tempo pace throughout the contest, grabbing 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the first two periods with goals from Otto Leskinen and Yannick Veilleux but surrendered the lead to the home side. The Comets hit for the game winner 36 seconds into the third frame. On Valentine’s Day, it was thorns not roses for the Rocket as the Wolf Pack posted the 3-1 victory. Laval fell behind 2-0 after the opening period, a cushion that held until the 10 minute mark of the third when Riley Barber bested Hartford’s netminder Tom McCollum. Cayden Primeau was lifted in favour of the extra attacker but Hartford found the empty net to seal the 3-1 win. Closing out the road trip in Providence, the Bruins shutdown the visitors to take a 3-0 decision. Providence rode a 1-0 lead into the third and popped in a pair to secure the victory. The Rocket was frustrated by the play of Bruins’ goalie Dan Vladar who turned aside 32 shots, 16 of those in the final 20 minutes of play. “When you’re down, you just don’t have any mojo, you don’t have that swagger that you need to have to get through some of these games” Karl Alzner said. “It’s an ugly slump right now and we’re battling hard to get out of it and when we do, it’s going to be great again. We will [come] home [and play] in front of our crowd and that’s what we need.”

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