Utica tosses Rocket a loss on Teddy Bear Toss Saturday

Laval’s Alexandre Alain (left) and Lukas Vejdemo battle in fron of Comets’ goalie Michael DiPietro, who frustrated the Rocket attack, handling 41 of 43 shots sent his way.

The Laval Rocket went one for three last week sandwiching a win in between a pair of defeats as they lost 2-1 in overtime to the Toronto Marlies on the road and split a pair against the Utica Comets at Place Bell. Laval showed a lot of character in the overtime defeat Wednesday night at the Coca-Cola Coliseum. Alex Belzile left the game near the end of the first period after he was dangerously hit from behind by Garrett Wilson. The squad picked-up the pace, testing veteran Toronto netminder Michael Hutchinson with 33 shots but only Matthew Peca got one past Hutchinson to open the scoring just past the midmark of the first. Scott Pooley pulled the Marlies even in the second but neither side to close the deal in regulation. Laval dominated in the extra-session but Hutchinson was equal to the task. A mere 25 seconds from moving to the shootout phase, former Rocket and Hab Kenny Agostino buried the game winner. Friday night before 4,757 fans Laval delivered a 6-4 win over the Utica Comets where 11 Rocket players helped to put the points on the board. Utica opened the scoring with a power play marker in the first but Laval battled back to build to a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes of play on goals by Riley Barber and Jake Evans. Otto Leskinen’s first AHL goal in the third made it 4-1, Barber’s second tally of the night made t a 5-2 match and Ryan Poehling closed out Laval’s scoring to make it a 6-2 contest. Utica got back two late in the game, but an out of racetrack for any comeback possibility. At Saturday afternoon’s annual Teddy Bear Toss, the7748 fans delivered, littering the ice with 6768 stuffed animals, doubling last year’s total. The deluge of stuffed toys rained down at 4:26 of the second stanza when David Sklenicka’s goal cut the Comets’ lead to 2-1. Riley Barber knotted the score to send the game tied 2-2 into the break. Utica potted a pair in the third thanks to Nikolay Goldobin, who completed his hat trick with those two tallies. “There’s a lot to be happy about, obviously some breakdowns,” Matthew Peca said. “But that’s hockey. We’ll talk about it, put it in the back of our minds and get ready for Wednesday.”

Wednesday was the start of a three game road swing as the Rocket faced the Belleville Senators last night. Tomorrow finds them taking on the Syracuse Crunch then on to Springfield Saturday to face-off against the Thunderbirds.

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