After three games in three days, the Laval Rocket returned home to the confines of Place Bell, and awaiting them was a Providence Bruins team. For Laval they are still without top defender Matt Taormina, in addition to Daniel Audette and Yannick Veilleux in the forward group. After sitting out a pair of games, David Broll was healthy enough to rejoin the team for this game. On defence Tyson Wilson was released from his PTO deal, and reassigned to the Brampton Beast. To fill that spot the Rocket signed Étienne Boutet to a tryout deal to replace him.
With Zachary Fucale travelling back from New Jersey, after backing up Charlie Lindgren the night before, Michael McNiven would again get the start in net. For the Bruins they countered with Dan Vladar between the pipes.
It was a quiet start to the first period, with neither Providence nnor Laval really testing either goalie with anything of consequence. Then, just past the five-minute mark the Bruins found their breakthrough due to the awareness of Colby Cave. He dished a pass off to Colton Hargrove, who then sent a puck behind Brett Lernout to Cave, who had cleanly beaten a slow-reacting Eric Gelinas to jam it home just in front of McNiven to give the Bruins an early 1-0 lead.
Laval was then headed to the man advantage as Austin Czarnik was whistled for slashing, and on the ensuing power play they almost immediately took a hooking penalty of their own to negate it. While they managed to catch up on the shot clock, at least momentarily, the Rocket couldn’t find a way to get a puck past Vladar.
Instead, poor discipline and poorly timed penalties popped up once again, with David Broll taking a hooking penalty, and Chris Terry being whistled for interference late in the period. Terry’s hit also drew the ire of Taylor Doherty, who attempted to make the Laval forward answer the bell, but invoked the wrath of Michael McCarron instead.
The period horn blew, with Laval having killed off all but five seconds of Terry’s penalty, which would carry over into the next period.
Despite killing off the remainder of Terry’s penalty, the Rocket would continue to pile up the minutes in the box as the period wore on. Thomas Ebbing took a penalty for elbowing, and six seconds into the ensuing penalty kill the Rocket were down 2-0. Not long after Anton Blidh got the puck below the goal line, and let a bad angle shot go that fooled McNiven, and prompted Sylvain Lefebvre to change his goalies.
Providence again gave the Rocket a major chance to cut into the deficit with Tommy Cross in the box, and this time Chris Terry took full advantage. Adam Cracknell got the puck into Terry’s skates at the blue line, where he collected it, and uncorked a blistering slapshot that beat Vladar making it a 3-1 contest.
Chris Terry gets the Rocket on the board with a slapshot goal, his 24th of the year. pic.twitter.com/meduXm5j0Y— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) March 8, 2018
With under two minutes left in the period it was ECHL call-up Willie Corrin taking a seat for tripping a Bruins player. The results were nearly identical to the power play Providence had earlier in the game, with Austin Czarnik wiring a shot by Fucale to make it 4-1 late in the second period.
The third period did not hold many more pleasant tidings for the Rocket either, as Blidh was left all alone in the slot and tallied his second goal of the game just over two minutes in, all but sealing this game for the Bruins.
Kerby Rychel however, continued his strong play in a Rocket sweater with his third goal in four games.
Stefan Leblanc took in a pass from Simon Bourque and let the shot fly on net. It beat Vladar, but didn’t cross the goal line. Rychel jumped on the rebound and poked it into the back of the net for his 13th goal of the year, and made it a 5-2 contest.
Kerby Rychel gets his third goal in his fourth game with the Rocket, cashing in on Stefan Leblanc shot. pic.twitter.com/XZGbAgSbZA— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) March 8, 2018
Rychel would strike again with just under four minutes remaining as well, to put the Rocket just slightly back into the contest. After getting the puck in deep, Rychel peeled off and found an open seam in the Bruins defence, and Terry picked him out with a perfect feed that he converted into his second goal of the game.
Make that four goals in four games in a Rocket sweater for Kerby Rychel now.— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) March 8, 2018
Laval trails 5-3 late against Providence. pic.twitter.com/P952xU88EF
That would be the end of a potential comeback however, as just 56 seconds later Simon Bourque was whistled for delay of game, forcing Laval into a late penalty kill situation. Despite killing off the penalty, the Rocket never managed to get set with the net empty, and Austin Czarnik deposited an empty-net goal to seal things for good by a score of 6-3.
The Rocket are at home all weekend, when they kick off a pair of games with the Belleville Senators on Friday and Saturday night at Place Bell.
1. Anton Blidh (2 Goals)
2. Austin Czarnik (2 Goals, 1 Assist)
3. Kerby Rychel (2 Goals)