Five different Laval Rocket players scored goals as the team roared to victory in their 2018-19 home opener in a 5-2 win over the Binghamton Devils on Friday night at Place Bell.
The first period saw six goals between the two teams and Laval with a 4-2 lead.
Byron Froese put Laval up 1-0 6:56 into the first period when he was sprung on a break by rookie Cale Fleury and then beat Devils goaltender Cam Johnson.
Catching up on tonight's Laval Rocket game. Byron Froese takes a great pass from Cale Fleury to put the Rocket up 1-0. pic.twitter.com/v0LaoQeXzL— Jared Book (@jaredbook) October 13, 2018
However shortly after the goal, the Rocket were called for two penalties on the same play, leading to a five-on-three power play for a full two minutes.
Binghamton would not need the full two minutes. Just 25 seconds into the power play and 56 seconds after Froese scored, Nick Lappin converted a perfect cross ice feed to make the score 1-1.
But the Rocket would fight back. Just 22 seconds after the Devils tied it, still shorthanded, Michael McCarron would break in on a 3-on-1. His shot was stopped by Cam Johnson but David Sklenička scored his first AHL goal on the rebound to make it 2-1.
The scoring would not stop there. Just 1:35 after the 2-1 goal, the Rocket would double their lead at even strength. Froese would enter the zone, try a spin move that got the loose puck to Jake Evans, and the loose puck would go to Nikita Jevpalovs who would make no mistake. It was Jevpalovs’s first goal with the Rocket and Evans’ first professional point.
The Devils would fight back again. Thirty-nine seconds later, Nathan Bastian would jump on a loose puck after a sloppy defensive zone shift from the Rocket to make it 3-2 and beat Charlie Lindgren.
It would be five goals in just 3:31.
The game would settle down a bit after that, but the Rocket would get a five-on-three of their own late in the first period and Alexandre Grenier would score his second of the season to restore the Rocket’s two-goal lead.
It really was a dominant showing from the Rocket in the first frame and that would extend throughout the rest of the game. Laval outshot Binghamton 19-5 in the first period, and held the Devils to only 19 shots for the entire game, while getting 32 of their own.
The second period would have no scoring, in a period the Devils would have most of the possession. The Rocket would continue their strong penalty killing, despite allowing the power play goal in the first period. The Devils would not score on their next five power plays, and the Rocket have now killed 13 of the 14 power plays they have faced this season.
In the third period, the Rocket would get more chances. McCarron would get another chance shorthanded, and made one of the most unique plays you will see.
He drove to the net, got position, and powered the Devils Blake Pietila into his own goalie, knocking both of them back and the net off it’s moorings. McCarron was engaged, and using speed to create opportunities. It is a very positive sign for the prospect.
This doesn't count as a goal but this is mighty impressive from Michael McCarron. Creates a SH chance, powers the D into the goalie, and then puts the puck in the net. #Habs pic.twitter.com/fxQk83tAr7— Jared Book (@jaredbook) October 13, 2018
The Rocket would get a fifth goal when Kenny Agostino started and finished the play for his first goal of the season and the final goal in a high scoring affair.
Kenny Agostino gets his first of the season as the Rocket take a 5-2 lead. pic.twitter.com/1UYDAUZPyU— Jared Book (@jaredbook) October 13, 2018
The Rocket and Devils will complete their two-game series with a matinee on Saturday starting at 3:00 p.m. at Place Bell in Laval, followed by Les Canadiennes’ season opener against the Calgary Inferno.
If you have a ticket to the Rocket game, you can stay for the CWHL included with your ticket. The CWHL game is general admission.
- The Rocket are a really balanced team. All four lines created chances and all of them had a player who scored a goal. This is a nice change from the previous years when the offence went through one or two lines.
- There is so much internal competition. Any of the players not in the lineup (Gustav Olofsson, Adam Plant, Michael Pezzetta, Jeremiah Addison, and Hayden Verbeek) could stake a claim to a lineup spot, but if they do that who do you take out? It’s a good problem for Joël Bouchard to have.
- It wasn’t Charlie Lindgren’s best game by the numbers. He allowed two goals on the first three shots he faced (although he couldn’t be blamed on either goal) but ended up not allowing another goal the rest of the game. A save percentage under .900 doesn’t look pretty, but I will take a goalie who allows two goals any day of the week.