Colin Blackwell scored twice as the Rochester Americans defeated the Laval Rocket in a 5-2 victory at Place Bell Wednesday night. The game is the first of a home-and-home series against the Amerks this week.
Two members of the Rocket's top line — Michael McCarron and Nikita Scherbak — were unavailable for the team as they were called up by the Montreal Canadiens a few days earlier. To make matters worse, the Rocket lost Chris Terry to injury midway through the game. Jakub Jerabek was also out of the lineup for the Rocket, thanks to the league's veteran rule.
Laval could've used their first line, as their offence stagnated after the first period.
Both teams scored twice in the opening frame; usually an eventful one for the Rocket. Since the beginning of the season, 14 of Laval's 32 goals scored have come in the first period.
Rocket forward Nicolas Deslauriers opened the scoring with his second goal of the season. Deslauriers picked off a pass from an Americans defender before putting it past an unsuspecting Linus Ullmark.
About 90 seconds later, however, the Americans struck right back, with Blackwell tying the game for Rochester. The 24-year-old forward scored four goals and 11 points for the San Jose Barracuda last season.
The Rocket reclaimed the lead off a power-play goal from Chris Terry as he netted his sixth goal of the season before being forced to leave. Terry didn't get a clean shot from the faceoff circle, but it still trickled past Ullmark. Matt Taormina, along with Peter Holland, assisted on the second goal of the game. The defenceman picked up his fourth point in three games.
But once more, the Americans tied the game. Laval killed off all four penalty kills they had to endure during the game, but they allowed their first short-handed goal of the season courtesy of Sahir Gill.
Laval led the game in shots 9-1 halfway through the first, but Rochester picked up their play and were only down 11-10 in the shooting department after one period of play.
The Rocket were playing from behind in the second after a seeing eye shot from Nick Baptiste got past Zachary Fucale to make it 3-2. It marked the second time in three outings this season that Fucale had allowed at least three goals.
Do you fault this one to Zach Fucale? What a shot by Nick Baptiste to make it 3-2 RCH. pic.twitter.com/5ZeJzugZHj— Julian McKenzie (@jkamckenzie) October 26, 2017
Worse for the Rocket, Terry took an open-ice hit in the second period and didn't return to the game.
Chris Terry is out after an open ice hit in the 2nd period. @RocketLaval— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) October 26, 2017
In the third, Rochester added the first of their two insurance markers via an unlucky bounce. Baptiste fired a shot that ricocheted off defenceman Matt Taormina before finding the stick of Blackwell, who roofed it past Fucale for his second of the night.
The final nail in the coffin was hammered home by Casey Nelson, who scored Rochester’s fifth goal of the night. Fucale had traffic in front of him and had no chance to make a save.
Laval led in shots 39-27, and had six power-play opportunities, but they ultimately lacked finish. It was a particularly ugly night for Rocket forward Peter Holland, who ended the game as a -5, on the ice for each goal Laval allowed. Eric Gelinas and Daniel Audette were -3 in the loss.
The Rocket get the chance to exact revenge and reverse their (mis)fortunes Friday in a road rematch against the Americans.