Being down a man proved to be no problem for Michael Chaput and the Laval Rocket Wednesday night.
Chaput scored two shorthanded goals, while Charlie Lindgren made 20 saves in a 5-2 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack at Place Bell. The victory avenged a 3-1 road loss to the Wolf Pack 10 days ago.
The Rocket had a five-goal night for the second time in this young season and, despite their indiscipline, continued to excel on their league-best penalty kill (95.5%). Laval successfully killed six penalties and, thanks to Chaput, came away with two shorthanded goals.
Chaput scored his first of the night in the opening period. Despite being shorthanded, it didn’t stop the Rocket from using their speed up ice. Alex Belzile found Chaput to his left, with the forward beating Hartford Wolf Pack goaltender Marek Mazanec. Defenceman Brett Lernout also picked up an assist.
Laval’s offence exploded in the second period with a trio of goals. First, from Swede Lukas Vejdemo. After an Alexandre Grenier shot went off the pad of Mazanec. Vejdemo’s stick was first to the puck, taking advantage of the rebound and scoring. The goal was the first in a Rocket uniform for Vejdemo.
Chaput scored his second of the game thanks to a great defensive play by teammate Alex Belzile. The forward stole the puck from defenceman Chris Bigras along the far side boards before taking the puck up ice with Chaput to his right. With no Wolf Pack player in sight, Belzile was stopped on his initial shot, but Chaput was quick to score on the rebound. Chaput’s second of the night was also a shorthanded goal.
Michael Chaput's second shorthanded goal of the night makes it 3-0, but it's not possible without Alex Belzille's great work along the boards. Steals the puck from Chris Bigras before getting the assist. @HabsEOTP. Belzille 2A, Chaput 2G. pic.twitter.com/e3DbqhIgoe— Julian McKenzie (@jkamckenzie) October 18, 2018
Finally, Hunter Shinkaruk got in on the scoring with his first as a member of the Rocket. Following a blocked shot, defenceman Maxim Lamarche kept the puck in the Rocket zone and took his time before finding Shinkaruk in the slot. The forward then scored off Lamarche’s pass, making it 4-0.
Hartford scored twice in the third, thanks to Steven Fogarty. The Minnesota native scored for the Wolf Pack after deflecting a shot from Chris Bigras early in the third, spoiled a shutout bid for Charlie Lindgren. Following a third period goal from Rocket captain Byron Froese, Fogarty scored the second of the night on a breakaway with less than two minutes to go.
Fogarty’s goals aside, Lindgren had a quiet, yet productive night with 20 saves on 22 shots. The goaltender now has a 3-1-0-0 record to start the season.
Despite the offensive production, Laval failed to produce on three power play opportunities. Through four games, the Rocket have scored just once with the extra man on 19 chances. They’re tied for the league’s worst power play rate at 5.3 per cent with the Colorado Eagles.
Laval will look to string together some wins as they host the Springfield Thunderbirds in a two-game home stand on Friday and Saturday at Place Bell.
1. Alex Belzile 2A, 4SOG
2. Michael Chaput 2G, 2SOG
3. Lukas Vejdemo 1G, 1A