It will be a busy week for Laval Rocket head coach Jean-François Houle and his staff as they finalize the roster and set the stage for Friday night’s AHL season-opener at Place Bell. Laval will face the Belleville Senators with a 7:00 pm game time and there is no limit to the number of fans who can attend. The Rocket will then travel to Belleville for a Saturday confrontation against the Sens at the CAA Arena.
Laval tested the competitive waters over the weekend as they played a pair of exhibition games in Belleville at the CAA Arena. On Friday night they dropped a 5-3 decision to the Belleville Senators and then on Saturday the Toronto Marlies held in for a 2-1 victory.
In the 5-3 loss Corey Schueneman opened the scoring for the Rocket, giving them a 1-0 edge o an unassisted powerplay tally. As play headed into the final three minutes of the opening frame, a flurry of three goals saw the Sens carry a 3-2 lead into the break. Belleville potted a pair in a 51 second span to go up 3-1. Jake Lucchini replied for Laval 25 seconds from the resumption of play sending the game into the break at 3-2.
Belleville struck twice in the third to make it a three goal cushion at 5-2. Nearing the midpoint of the third Lukas Vejdemo closed out the scoring. Rocket goalie Kevin Poulin was tagged with the loss.
In the 2-1 loss to Toronto, all the scoring came in the opening frame making the final two periods a goaltender’s battle. The Marlies’ Keith Petruzzelli and Evan Cormier tag-teamed the win as they shared the duties. Laval’s Michael McNiven worked the entire game and was impressive in the loss.
Laval again opened the scoring as Kevin Roy gave the visitors a 1-0 lead but the Rocket couldn’t maintain it. Tallies by Teemu Kivihalme and Curtis Douglas delivered the margin of victory that stood for over 50 minutes to the final buzzer.