Belleville’s third period surge hands Rocket first loss of the season

Rocket captain Xavier Ouellet moves the puck with Belleville’s Mark Kastelic in close pursuit.

The Laval Rocket carried a pair of convincing 5-1 victories over the Belleville Senators into Tuesday night’s third consecutive meeting at the Bell Centre in the Rocket’s opening series of the AHL campaign.

The Sens had a few days off to regroup and prepare for the contest and that paid off as the visiting Senators picked-up their first win of the season defeating the home side 4-1. A trio of goals in the third period broke open a 1-1 draw, with two coming 40 seconds apart. “We fell into their trap a little bit,” Jordan Weal said. “It was one of those games where I think we outshot them 15 to three in the first and felt like we had control of the game. That happens in professional hockey, you have a couple of guys playing their first game, you have a few young guys in the line-up, you can’t take your foot off the gas against a team like that. They get a couple of breaks and it’s a 3-1 game, but it’s a good learning opportunity.”

Laval opened the scoring 15:44 into the first as Jordan Weal notched his first of the season with helpers from Otto Leskinen and Jesse Ylonen. Rocket netminder Cayden Primeau was barely tested as Belleville had an anemic three shots on goal in the opening 20 while Laval peppered Sens’ goalie Filip Gustavsson with 14 shots. Belleville came out with more bounce in their game in the middle tract and did knot the score 1-1 with 5:38 remaining in the second. Logan Shaw bested Primeau for the equalizer, sending the teams into the break all-square. Laval’s penalty killing unit held off the Senators’ powerplay on two occasions during the second.

Belleville’s Vitaly Abramov delivered the go ahead goal at 8:30 then Clark Bishop added an insurance marker at the 11:58 mark. Alex Formenton made it a three goal cushion with his tally 40 seconds from the resumption of play following Bishop’s marker to close out the scoring in Belleville’s winning effort. “I don’t think the effort was the problem to be honest,” Rocket head coach Joël Bouchard said. “I think our puck management forced the play a little too much and I didn’t see any chemistry between the guys. That’s what happens sometimes when you change the line-up.”

Rafael Harvey-Pinard continued to impress with his level of play and earned third star considerations for his efforts in the loss.

Belleville and Laval will close out this four game set Friday night at the Bell Centre with a 7:00 pm puck drop.

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