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Laval vs. Syracuse recap: Peter Holland’s hat trick the difference

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The Rocket sweep the back-to-back series against the Crunch

Peter Holland Club de hockey Canadien, Inc.

The Laval Rocket played the second game of their back-to-back set against the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday afternoon, completing the sweep by a score of 5-2.

Zachary Fucale made 28 saves, looking sharp and focused in his first back-to-back start in the AHL since February 2016. He established himself towards the end of the first period as the Crunch buzzed around Fucale’s net, but he made a series of saves to keep the game scoreless as the Rocket were killing off a Syracuse power play.

The first period was an uncharacteristic defensive affair, lacking the offensive fire power of Friday’s 6-5 win. The Rocket only had two shots on net in the first, but they started the second period with a power play. An untimely fall by Peter Holland, however, gave a short-handed chance to the Crunch. Fucale in desperation took a tripping call to cancel out the powerplay.

Shots remained rare for the Rocket early on, as their third shot of the game only occurred at the four minute mark of the second period, when Crunch starter Connor Ingram was forced to flash the glove on a Daniel Audette breakaway.

Finally on the Rocket’s eighth shot of the game, eight minutes into the second period, Nicolas Deslauriers scored his third goal of the season when he was left completely alone in front of the Crunch net. Niki Petti collected the lone assist when scoop up a loose puck, and dished the puck out with a great backhand pass to Deslauriers who had all the time in the world to deke out Ingram.

The Crunch tied up the game when Carter Verhaeghe scored his first AHL goal on a pass from Mathieu Joseph who caught Eric Gelinas off guard. Joseph took the puck away from Gelinas and made the pass to Verhaeghe.

The Rocket responded quickly to re-establish the lead. After Jeremy Gregoire missed a wraparound opportunity, the Rocket continued to pressure the Crunch, and with Gregoire again behind the net, he patiently waited for Peter Holland to get open and sent him a perfect pass that Holland just had to tap into the net at the 12 minute mark to give the Rocket a 2-1 lead.

The Rocket came out of the gates strong in the third, and quickly created a two-goal cushion when Holland’s strong forecheck led to a turnaround at the Crunch blueline, followed by a snipe from the face-off dot to beat Ingram.

Jakub Jerabek took three minor penalties in the third period, as the Rocket continued their trend of struggling with discipline as they have all season. It was on the first of Jerabek’s three penalties that Syracuse closed the gap to a single goal, 5:56 into the third period when Cory Conacher received a perfect pass from Verhaeghe.

It seemed like another third period lead was slipping away for the Rocket, however Daniel Carr received a perfect pass from Holland and then took his own rebound to snap home a power play goal that broke Syracuse’s back. It was Carr’s seventh goal of the season, which leads the team.

Peter Holland finished his best game as a Rocket by scoring an empty net goal to complete the hat trick. Brett Lernout collected his first point of the season on the play with an assist.

Thoughts

  • Holland’s offensive outburst came at a crucial time as the team did not have the entire top line that it started the season with. Michael McCarron and Nikita Scherbak are still on recall with the Canadiens, while Chris Terry missed a second consecutive game with a lingering injury.
  • Michael McNiven dressed for the Rocket for the first time this season, arriving from North Dakota where the ECHL Brampton Beast were playing a three-game series. Friday’s backup goaltender, Karel St. Laurent, was released from him ATO with the team.
  • Markus Eisenschmid and Noah Juulsen are not expected to return from injury until the first week of December.
  • The Rocket are tied with the Iowa Wild for most home games played thus far this season with eight. They are also one minute away from the Stockton Heat for most penalty minutes taken at home.
  • The Rocket also lead the League with 11 power play goals scored at home, with an efficiency of 27.5%. Sadly they also lead the League for most powerplay goals allowed at home, 10, with a penalty kill efficiency of 76.7%.
  • The Rocket now have an entire week off, not playing again until next Saturday in Springfield.