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Laval @ Belleville recap & highlights: Another loss ends a frustrating weekend for the Rocket

Three empty-net goals skew the score, but it was another tough loss for Laval on Saturday.

Club de Hockey Canadien

The Laval Rocket were coming off a stinging loss to the Belleville Senators on Friday night. They dropped a tough game, but did so without Jesse Ylönen, who missed the game due to a non-COVID illness. The young Finn was back in action for the Rocket on Saturday.

Michael McNiven got the start for Laval. Terrance Amorosa drew in on defence, while the rest of the lineup remained the same as the previous night.

Unfortunately for the Rocket, the game got off on the wrong foot as the Senators’ top line found the back of the net just over a minute into the game. Pontus Aberg fed a pass to Andrew Agozzino in the slot, and Agozzino beat Michael McNiven on the one-timer to open up the scoring just 66 seconds in.

Things didn’t improve much for the Rocket as a few minutes later, Danick Martel was whistled for high-sticking. After a quick check, it was determined that he drew blood, resulting in a four-minute Senators power play.

The Rocket penalty kill stood its ground, denying the Senators a second goal early in the first period and keeping themselves out of a hole they had fallen into in recent games. The Senators continued to dictate play as the period wore on, but after an early goal against, McNiven was able to slam the door shut the rest of the way.

The second period began with a dud of a power play by the Rocket. The Senators allowed them no real space or time to set up. However, the early man advantage allowed the Rocket to find their legs after the intermission and earn a tying goal. Despite the Sens killing off the minor penalty, the Rocket forced a turnover through the neutral zone and Cam Hillis in turn fed a pass to Kevin Roy streaking in uncovered. Roy held on just long enough to open the net up, and he fired his third of the season home.

The Senators answered back in short order with Andrew Agozzino converting the feed from Jake Lucchini into a second Belleville goal.

Even with the Senators taking the lead back, Laval continued to control the puck and test Kevin Mandolese, but the Senators’ netminder refused to yield anything in the second period. Then, against the run of play, the Senators added to their lead thanks to the ever-dangerous Egor Sokolov. The Sens sniper took a pass, cut to the middle of the ice, and fired a shot across his body to make it a three-goal Belleville lead as the second period came to a close.

Period three started in tough fashion for the Rocket as J.-S. Dea was called for high-sticking just over a minute in, giving Belleville a chance to really put the game out of reach early on. The Rocket pushed the Sens back pretty easily, generating short-handed chances for themselves without much issue, but a Brandon Baddock tripping penalty resulted in a two-man advantage for the Sens.

The Rocket penalty kill managed to kill off the first minor, but they failed to finish off the second as Mark Kastelic fed Lucchini, and the former Rocket forward made his old team pay once again as he buried his ninth goal of the season.

With their backs against the wall, the Rocket’s leading goal-scorer found a way to drag them back into the game. Terrance Amorosa set up Tobie Paquette-Bisson, who fired a low shot off to the stick of Laurent Dauphin, who easily directed it into the open net for his 10th goal.

The Senators then presented the Rocket with a chance to tie the game as they were called for hooking with just over six-and-a-half minutes to play. Before the Rocket’s first penalty expired, the Senators were also called for cross-checking. With an abbreviated two man advantage looming, J.-F. Houle opted to use his timeout and pull McNiven.

His drawn-up play nearly worked as the Rocket got three or four clean looks on net, but the puck bounced free and right to the Senator exiting the penalty box, who made it a 5-3 game with four-and-a-half minutes left to play.

The Rocket managed to draw within two goals once again as Brandon Baddock got a favourable bounce off a stick to score his second goal of the season.

However two more empty-net goals for the Senators sealed the Rocket’s fate in the closing minutes, and sent Laval packing after a disappointing weekend.

Final Score: Belleville 7, Laval 3

Laval is back in action on December 1 against the Texas Stars at Place Bell. Puck drop will be at 7:30 PM.