It was another tough night in goal for Keith Kinkaid.
The netminder, still trying to show Montreal Canadiens management that he can be a reliable option in goal, allowed three goals in 59 seconds during the second period of Laval’s 3-2 loss to the Toronto Marlies on Saturday.
The fans in attendance then Bronx cheered and jeered his saves for the rest of the second period.
“The fans start getting on him like that, that’s tough,” Rocket forward Dale Weise said. “That’s really disappointing to see. He’s a good guy. He’s come in and worked hard. I feel for the guy. He’s going to come out of it. He’s a great goaltender.”
The Rocket then pulled Kinkaid prior to the third period in favour of Cayden Primeau. Head coach Joël Bouchard said Kinkaid was dealing with cramps.
“He was starting to cramp between the intermission,” Bouchard said. “That’s the reason why we took him out of the game. Obviously, as a coach I don’t like my player to be nagged by the fans. I can’t go in the stands and tell all the fans to not do it.”
Kinkaid is now 1-2-1-0 in his four American Hockey League appearances this season. While it’s not the greatest record, the American goalie still has support from his locker room.
“I thought he played well. You can’t blame him on any of those goals,” Weise said. “It’s not easy. I mean, as a goaltender, your confidence is magnified even more as a player when you have zero confidence. It’s tough.”
“He’s been practising hard,” Bouchard said. “Obviously the numbers are not what he would want. Let’s not kid ourselves, guys. That being said, I don’t think it’s because he doesn’t care. I think, right now, things are going a certain way for him and for the team. But he’s a big boy, he’s a pro. He’s been in the NHL, he’s been a starter in the NHL. It’s for him to dig deep and go back in the winning column and go over .900 as a save percentage and making those strides.
“We’re with him. We’re all with him,” Bouchard added.
As for Laval, Friday night’s loss means the Rocket’s winless streak is at five games. The team is 0-4-0-1 in that span of games and has only four wins in their last 11 contests.
“It’s one of those moments right now where we’re playing extremely well and we’re not getting as many bounces,” Bouchard said on the loss. “If the guys weren’t working. If we were getting eaten alive, it’d be different.”
Despite a third period where the Rocket outshot the Marlies 10-2, the offence couldn’t get a tying goal against their opponent. Goals from Evan McEneny and Yannick Veilleux brought the team within a goal before the end of the second period, but it was as close as they would get.
“We [allowed] two shots in the third,” Bouchard said. “If you were behind the bench in the third what would you say? Would you say, ‘we suck, we’re no good’? We just need to be better in a few things, but I’ve got to stick with my guys on this. I can’t go against them.”
“Much of the same. We had chances to tie the game up,” Weise said. “We put on an unbelievable push in the third and we just don’t score. For whatever reason there needs to be some onus on guys who can score goals that are playing the big minutes.”
The Rocket and Marlies will renew hostilities Saturday afternoon at Place Bell. Cayden Primeau will start in goal for Laval.