Rocket rise then fall on Ontario road trip

The Rocket will get two chances for payback against Belleville with a home and home set. Friday at Place Bell then Saturday back to Belleville.

The Laval Rocket split their workload last week on the road in Ontario with a win over the Toronto Marlies and a loss to the Belleville Senators. That .500 effort reflects the way Laval is playing so far this season as they are in fifth place in the North Division of the American Hockey League with a record of 7-wins-7-losses and an overtime loss.

It was a gritty win over the Marlies as the Rocket rallied to eradicate a three goal deficit heading into the third period. Rafaël Harvey-Pinard made it a 2-1 contest in the first but Toronto hit for three goals to go up 5-1. Gabriel Bourque’s goal at 17:41of the second was the start of a four unanswered goal run by the Rocket to tie the score.

In the third period Louie Belpedio’s powerplay tally, Lukas Vejdemo’s shorthanded goal and Cole Caufield’s tally pulled Laval even with the Marlies. When regulation time ended in a tie and overtime solved nothing it was up to the shooters to decide the outcome.

The shootout turned into a marathon event as Laval and Toronto each sent nine players to centre ice. Caufield led off the shooting with a goal but the next five Rocket shooters were denied. It came down to Harvey-Pinard, score and win or miss and continue but he was successful on his attempt giving Laval points on the road.

On Saturday evening the Senators handed Laval a 5-2 loss but the final score was not indicative as how tight a contest it was. The Sens and Rocket exchanged goals in the opening period with Vejdemo knotting the score at 1-1.

In the second stanza Belleville potted a pair of powerplay goals by Zac Leslie and Maxence Guenette to go up 3-1. Laurent Dauphin’s advantage tally made it a one goal game as play headed into the third.

With time winding down Laval lifted goalie Kevin Poulin in favour of an extra skater. The Senators were good for two empty net goals when the Rocket were pressing to score.

Laval will have two chances to get back at Belleville as they play a home and home set. Tomorrow night Belleville will be at Place Bell for a 7pm match. Saturday evening will find Laval in Belleville for a 7pm meeting with the Senators.

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