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Laval vs. Toronto recap and highlights: Offence explodes to end losing streak

A dominant second period cemented a huge win.

Shanna Martin

There have been games this season when the Laval Rocket had no gas left in the tank and despite their best efforts, couldn’t get anything going and were not up to the task. Saturday afternoon against the Toronto Marlies, the tables turned and it was Laval who put together a dominant 6-1 win at Place Bell to snap a six-game losing streak where they went 0-4-2.

“We had a good meeting before the game. We showed our performances from the last [five games], the statistics, the way we were playing and we said there’s no reason we aren’t winning,” said Rocket head coach Joël Bouchard. “It was our way of saying that not only are you going to make plays but you’re going to go out and get goals.”

“We had those chances [Friday night] but we didn’t finish and we didn’t execute the odd-man rushes that we had. Tonight we finally executed and buried some goals,” said Jake Evans.

The Marlies were playing their third game in three days coming out of the holiday break and had leading goal scorer Kenny Agostino and top defender Timothy Liljegren called up by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Rasmus Sandin is with Team Sweden at the World Juniors, and defenceman Jesper Lindgren was also out of the lineup.

Laval is not going to feel sorry for their opponents, especially given the last month for this team.

They took control of the game early in the second period with two goals in 37 seconds. Just 40 seconds into the period, Xavier Ouellet fired a long shot that Woll got a piece of before it went in the net.

Charles Hudon scored his second of the game after Jake Evans entered the zone and had a mini three-on-one. Hudon trailed the play before getting the pass and firing a shot past Woll.

Before the period was half over, Ralph Cuddemi made it a 5-1 game. After a Karl Alzner shot was blocked in front, Cuddemi pounced on the loose puck and put the rebound past Woll. It was his first American Hockey League goal after he had 105 goals in 237 career ECHL games.

After that goal, Kasimir Kaskisuo entered the game as Woll was pulled after allowing five goals on 23 shots. The Rocket outshot the Marlies 18-1 in the second period, and were dominant throughout. Toronto made the shot count more respectable with a 16-4 edge in the third, but the Rocket still won the shot battle 38-27.

Primeau made 26 saves, and Bouchard said it was good for the rookie to play in a game that wasn’t close and that was a bit less stressful than the close games the Rocket had been playing.

Cuddemi kept his strong play going in the third when he made a beautiful rush to set up Jake Evans for the sixth Rocket goal of the game.

The Rocket had more of a jump in their step than they did the night before. Despite taking an early penalty, Alexandre Alain had the game’s first chance shorthanded when he broke in alone on Toronto goaltender Joseph Woll, but fired the puck over the net. Alain had another chance after the penalty expired as well, with the same result.

They opened the scoring when Karl Alzner fired a shot from the point that was tipped by Yannick Veilleux. It was his third goal of the season in his third game since signing a professional try out with the Rocket. He matched his goal total from 2017-18 when he played 52 games with Laval.

Under four minutes later, Charles Hudon deflected a Gustav Olofsson shot past Woll to open up a 2-0 lead with just over six minutes remaining in the first period.

Toronto cut the lead in half when Teemu Kivihalme fired a long wrist shot through traffic and past Cayden Primeau on the power play and made it 2-1 entering the first intermission.

“I think the guys were relieved,” Bouchard said. “I felt they were anxious and stressed because we deserved better but we didn’t have it but the guys went and got what they deserved to get.”


  • William Pelletier got hit hard in the second period in what Bouchard called a “vicious” hit. He left the game and did not return. It may be a concussion, and the team removed him as a precaution. He will be re-evaluated and they will see how he feels in a few days.