The Laval Rocket made the plane ride to Milwaukee for the first time to face off against the Admirals on Saturday night. Unfortunately for Laval, the result was once again a familiar one.
The Rocket out-chanced, and outshot the Admirals but couldn’t outscore the Nashville Predators AHL affiliate, falling 4-2 after an empty net goal. It was their third straight loss to start the season.
Josh Brook scored his first professional goal, and Otto Leskinen had his first two AHL assists but it was not enough.
““There are little things we need to work on but it’s coming along. [Our performance] is better than last week’s. We’re growing as a team and we keep getting better,” said Brook in a press release.
There was intensity from the first shift of the game. After Colin Blackwell hit Lukas Vejdemo hard but clean into the boards, he received a visit from Matthew Peca, who invited him to fight. Nothing came from it, and there were no penalties on the play.
After both teams traded some back-and-forth chances, the Admirals opened the scoring when Yakov Trenin pounced on a Laval turnover to break in alone on Charlie Lindgren and scored his third of the season. Trenin scored his second goal of the game into the empty net later in the game.
Ten minutes later, Brook took a pass from Leskinen and wired the shot past Connor Ingram to tie the game, but perhaps more importantly got him a bit of confidence with his first professional goal in his 10th game.
Before the period ended, Laval took the lead when a Leskinen shot was tipped by Nikita Jevpalovs. Kevin Lynch also had an assist, his first point with the Rocket.
It would be a game of missed opportunities for Laval. Despite taking a 2-1 lead to the intermission, they had four power play opportunities but did not score on them. Their power play went 0/5 on the night.
“The effort was much better; we were much more organised. We couldn’t score on our chances and we had some great powerplay opportunities as well and we couldn’t score. We have to give credit to the goalie at the other end of the ice. [...] I think we were more in control [of the play]. There are things we need to improve on, that’s for sure,” head coach Joël Bouchard said in a release.
In the second period, Milwaukee got a quick goal on a counter attack when Frederic Allard found Josh Wilkins who fired the shot past Lindgren for his first of the season. They ended up taking the lead just over eight minutes later. Right after a Leskinen penalty was killed, Rem Pitlick fed Cole Schneider who wired a wrist shot from the right point, beating Lindgren.
After the first period where Laval had a 13-9 edge in shots, the second period went in Milwaukee’s favour as they used the lone power play in the period to outshoot Laval 9-4. The third period saw Laval get opportunities. Phil Varone, Riley Barber, and Alex Belzile all had chances but Ingram stood tall.
Laval had the lone power play in the third period.
Ingram made 28 saves on 30 Rocket shots. Lindgren made 19 saves on 22 shots before being pulled for the extra attacker.
- Gustav Olofsson played his first game in just under a year. His last game was October 19, 2018. He was paired with Maxim Lamarche. David Sklenička was scratched.
- Michael McCarron and Noah Juulsen are with the team but were not in the lineup as they work their way back after suffering injuries in the pre-season. Joël Bouchard has said in the past that he wants players to have a full week of practice before seeing time in games.
- The Rocket had a new-look forward lineup. The top line of Alex Belzile, Jake Evans, and Charles Hudon remained intact, but all the other lines changed. Ryan Poehling centred Varone and Barber, Lukas Vejdemo started with Peca and Nikita Jevpalovs while Kevin Lynch centred Alexandre Alain and Dale Weise.
- Laval has Sunday off, but have a holiday Monday matinee against the Rockford IceHogs. Game time is 2:00 p.m Eastern.