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Rocket vs. Comets game recap: Laval limits Utica to 14 shots, yet still loses 3-2

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Yannick Veilleux scores twice in home loss to North Division rival.

Club de Hockey Canadien, Inc.

The Laval Rocket led the shot counter, but the Utica Comets won where it mattered most. Utica defeated Laval by a score of 3-2 on Friday night at Place Bell.

The Comets mustered 14 shots on goal for the entire game, but you couldn't argue they weren't efficient. Michael McNiven wasn't tested all that much, but three goals on 11 shots isn't the greatest result for the goalie.

The Comets opened the scoring with a goal from Alexis D'Aoust almost 13 minutes into the first period; a frame in which they only recorded three shots. Following a point shot from Joe Faust that rebounded off McNiven, D'Aoust backhanded the shot past the netminder for his fourth goal of the season. Faust also recorded his first point as a Comet on the play.

Laval's first goal didn't come until the second period when Yannick Veilleux scored at the halfway point of the game. As the Comets tried to break out of their zone, defenceman Jalen Chatfield made an errant pass to Veilleux. He quickly spun around and fired home his second of the season past Comets goalie Richard Bachman.

Utica regained the lead over four minutes later, thanks to Nikolay Goldobin and Jordan Subban. The brother of P.K. faked a shot while avoiding two Rocket defenders before firing a wrist shot in the slot. McNiven made the save, but Goldobin cleaned up on the rebound and scored Utica's lone power-play goal of the game.

Two minutes later, however, Yannick Veilleux tied the game with his second of the evening after tipping a Brett Lernout point shot. Bachman tried to clear the puck from behind his net, only to find Lernout's stick. The defenceman could only oblige by firing it back in his direction. Fortunately for the Rocket, Veilleux tipped the puck past Bachman, resulting in his second of the night.

The two-goal game was the first of Veilleux's pro career and he now has four points in his last four games. To this point, the Rocket had outshot the Comets 18-7, but were tied at two goals apiece after 40 minutes.

The nicest of Michael McNiven's 11 saves came in the third period. The goaltender held his ground as two players converged on him. D'Aoust tried to score on a one-timer, but the puck met McNiven's left pad instead of the mesh behind him.

In the third, Utica took the lead for good on its 14th, and final, shot of the game. Michael Chaput scored the game-winner with under 12 minutes to play in the third after receiving a pass from Zack MacEwen behind the Rocket net. Utica recorded seven shots on net in the third, half their output of the entire match.

Montreal Canadiens' free-agent acquisition David Schlemko played his second conditioning game with the Laval Rocket this year. The 30-year-old is trying to return from a re-injured right hand that's sidelined him to this point of the NHL season. Schlemko went pointless, but registered two shots and was a +1 on the night.

Friday night's game was Sylvain Lefebvre's 400th game as bench boss of the Montreal Canadiens' minor-league affiliate. The former National Hockey League veteran is the third head coach in Habs' minor-league affiliate history to reach that mark. Lefebvre joined the team in 2012 when the franchise was known as the Hamilton Bulldogs and now has a record of 173-177-50.

He and his team have a chance to bounce back in a rematch with the Comets at 3:00 PM EST today.

Three Stars

  1. Richard Bachman, UTI (25 saves on 27 shots)
  2. Yannick Veilleux, LAV (two goals)
  3. Michael Chaput, UTI (game-winning goal)