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Laval vs. Syracuse recap: Byron Froese leads by example in first game as captain

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Hours after being named captain, Froese gets a goal and shootout winner in 6-5 win

Club de hockey Canadien inc.

It was quite the day for Byron Froese. After being named captain in the morning, he had a goal and an assist and the winning goal in the shootout to lead the Laval Rocket to a 6-5 win over the Syracuse Crunch on Friday night.

The Syracuse Crunch opened the scoring on the power play when Ben Thomas, a defenceman who went to the net, tipped in a point shot from Alexander Volkov to beat Zach Fucale. The goal came after a lengthy power play that included 50 seconds of 5-on-3.

Fucale started the game because Charlie Lindgren was recalled to the NHL earlier in the day.

Fucale’s backup was Karel St-Laurent who was signed to an ATO hours before the game. St-Laurent plays for Sorel in the LNAH. Michael McNiven was recalled for Saturday’s game.

The Rocket got the goal back on a 5-on-3 power play of their own. Matt Taormina found Froese on the sidewall who hammered the puck past Michael Leighton, the goalie who briefly was part of the Canadiens organization and who beat the Habs in the 2010 playoffs as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Syracuse would re-take the lead before the end of the period when Mathieu Joseph scored his first career AHL goal. Joseph beat Niki Petti to the net and finished the feed from Thomas.

Less than five minutes into the second period, Thomas would get his third point of the night and second goal when he would beat Fucale with a wrist shot stick side to make it 3-1 Crunch. That goal came seconds after Fucale robbed Joseph with his glove.

The Rocket would once again respond. Eric Gelinas fired a point shot past Leighton less than two minutes later. The shot would sneak under Leighton’s glove. It was only the second Laval shot in the period.

It would wake up Laval. Three minutes later, Taormina would take the puck directly off of a Daniel Audette face off win and blast a shot past Leighton. And 16 seconds after that, Jeremy Gregoire would pass it to Niki Petti who found Jakub Jerabek heading towards the net for Jerabek’s first North American professional goal to give the Rocket a 4-3 lead less than four minutes after trailing 3-1.

The Rocket would score three second period goals on only 10 shots.

Syracuse would tie the game up again at 4-4 9:30 into the final period. Dominik Masin would put a shot from the top of the circle past Fucale.

Just 1:54 later, things would get a little crazy. First, Froese would find Audette in the slot who fired one past Leighton to make it 5-4 Rocket.

But then right off of the next faceoff, Joseph would score his second of the game as the Rocket seemed to forget how to play defence. It would take only five seconds for Syracuse to tie the game back at 5-5.

The game would head to overtime, where the Rocket started on a power play after Cory Conacher went off for tripping in the final minutes of the third period. However, they couldn’t convert and because there were no whistles for the first 4:01 of overtime, the two teams played at 4-on-4.

In the shootout, Conacher would score for Syracuse and Laval’s third shooter Peter Holland scored to keep the game alive. After Fucale stopped Joseph, Froese stepped up and beat Leighton.

Fucale stopped Ben Thomas, who was the fourth shooter sent out by Syracuse to seal the game.

The Rocket goaltender allowed five goals, but he had to be very good. He made 32 saves as the team was outshot 37-25. He also stopped three shots in the shootout.

Notes:

  • Chris Terry (lower body) and Antoine Waked (illness) were scratched for the Rocket as was Simon Bourque. They were replaced by Yannick Veilleux, Thomas Ebbing and Eric Gelinas. With Terry out, Nicolas Deslauriers wore the second ‘A’.
  • The Rocket were 3/7 on the power play, while the Crunch were 2/8. There were a lot of penalties, including five slashing calls alone.
  • The two teams play again Saturday afternoon. The game starts at 3:00 p.m. and will be shown on RDS.