The Laval Rocket need all the points they could get, and they couldn’t afford the bad bounces they got in a 4-1 loss to the Manitoba Moose on Friday night at Place Bell in the first game of a two-game home series.
With the game tied at 1-1, Eric Gelinas had control of the puck and tried a harmless clear off the end boards around the rink. However, the puck hit the corner of the door and bounced right in front of the net. Moose forward Elgin Pearce picked it up, and beat Charlie Lindgren to give Manitoba a 2-1 lead they would not relinquish.
Eric Gelinas gets really unlucky with the bounce on the clearing attempt, and Elgin Pearce capitalizes. 2-1 Moose pic.twitter.com/1FPpFSaNAY— Jared Book (@jaredbook) January 27, 2018
Manitoba would add two third period goals, including an empty netter to get the game to the eventual 4-1 final.
The Moose opened the scoring in the first period less than eight minutes into the game when Mason Appleton took a Nic Petan pass and fired the shot over the shoulder of Lindgren.
It was a tough start for the Rocket, who played well for the first eight minutes and had several chances on Eric Comrie before Manitoba scored. Lindgren, for his part, made several saves on the same shift before the shot that beat him.
Comrie would continue to make big saves on the Rocket, stopping Jeremy Gregoire, among others to keep it a 1-0 game.
In the second period, Laval would tie the game. Just after a length five-on-three power play expired, Nikita Scherbak skated the puck around the top of the zone and fired a shot on Comrie. He made the save, but Daniel Audette was able to pounce on the loose puck to make it 1-1 just 3:25 into the frame.
Nikita Scherbak uses the space on the power play, and Daniel Audette pots the rebound. 1-1 Rocket and Moose. pic.twitter.com/OTlF31yJ0P— Jared Book (@jaredbook) January 27, 2018
The tie game would last less than five minutes when the bad bounce led to Pearce’s goal and that is how the second period would end.
In the third period, Yannick Veilleux would go off for cross checking to give Manitoba a power play, and less than a minute into the power play, Petan would get his second assist of the night on one of the prettiest passing plays you will ever see.
After a scramble got the puck to him at the right circle, Petan would go between his legs to get the puck cross-ice to Michael Spacek who beat Lindgren with a slap shot.
Seriously. Look at this Nic Petan pass... pic.twitter.com/EeKcA04rSE— Jared Book (@jaredbook) January 27, 2018
Look at this ridiculous pass by Nic Petan. pic.twitter.com/xJdoFpMGUo— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) January 27, 2018
Despite the setback, the Rocket would continue to push for an equalizer. With just over three minutes remaining, and Lindgren pulled, Chris Terry would miss a wide open net and seconds later would hit the crossbar. On the same shift, he would also fan on a shot from the right circle.
A tough minute for Chris Terry. Misses a wide open net, then hits the crossbar. Then he fanned on another chance before a Manitoba empty netter. pic.twitter.com/x5D7aBIXJd— Jared Book (@jaredbook) January 27, 2018
To make matters worse, later in the shift, Petan would find Patrice Cormier who scored the empty netter to make the score 4-1.
- Chris Terry returned to the lineup and had seven shots on goal. Scherbak had four of his own and Jeremy Gregoire - also back to the lineup after his one-game suspension - would have five shots.
- The Rocket outshot the Moose 40-30 but Eric Comrie was very good, making 39 saves in the win. Lindgren was very good in his 26 saves and was named the game’s third star.
“I thought we played a good game, we had chances to score,” said Laval head coach Sylvain Lefebvre in a press release after the game. “Comrie was solid on the other side and Lindgren was solid for us, but when we gave them a chance, we gave them a few of them. On the first goal they had two excellent chances to score, and eventually we have to help our own goalie too.”
- To make matters worse for the Rocket, the team they are chasing for the final playoff spot, the Utica Comets, beat the Binghamton Devils 3-1 to open up a 10 point gap on Laval.