Lukas Vejdemo scored twice, but it wasn’t enough as the Laval Rocket lost 5-3 to the Rochester Americans on Friday night in New York.
With Vejdemo’s two goals, he became the all-time leading goal scorer in Rocket history, passing his teammate Alex Belzile, who had set the record just days ago. Cayden Primeau made 28 saves as the Rocket had their three-game winning streak snapped by a tough Americans team that won their fifth straight game.
Laval is dealing with a depleted lineup, missing Laurent Dauphin, Jesse Ylönen, Xavier Ouellet, and Corey Schueneman to NHL recalls or injury. The Americans were also shorthanded. Jack Quinn is dealing with a non-COVID related illness and they only dressed 17 skaters.
The Rocket got the opening goal as they opened the scoring on the power play. Peter Abbandonato found Vejdemo in the slot, and after the initial shot was saved by Rochester’s Mat Robson, he pounced on the rebound and made no mistake on the second chance. It was Abbandonato’s first career AHL point in his second game.
Power play goal!— Rocket de Laval (@RocketLaval) December 11, 2021
Abbandonato récolte son premier point avec le Rocket avec une passe sur le but de Vejdemo.
Abbandonato gets his first point with the Rocket with an assist on Vejdemo's goal. #GoRocket pic.twitter.com/OEnSpOWSV3
Rochester got the goal back less than three minutes later when Brandon Biro found the rebound and fired in his first goal of the season. The Americans went into the first intermission up 2-1 after Sean Malone’s centering pass went off of Jean-Sébastien Dea and past Primeau with less than four minutes to go.
The gap could have been wider, but Primeau made two big saves with 15 seconds to go to keep the deficit at one.
That proved big as just 1:10 into the second period, Belzile found Vejdemo who scored his second goal of the game that set a new record. Ironically, Belzile had the primary assist on the goal that usurped him for the time being.
Rochester once again regained the lead with 11:44 to go when Michael Mersch fired a knuckleball past Primeau. It was a goal that Primeau should have had, and was uncharacteristic for the goaltender who has been playing so well over the last few games.
Mitch Eliot made the score 4-2 early in the third period, but the Rocket continued to fight back.
Tobie Paquette-Bisson fired a point shot past Robson with 6:59 remaining in the third period to give the Rocket some life. Mattias Norlinder earned an assist on the goal, for his second point in two games.
Laval got several chances to tie the game, but couldn’t beat Robson. Norlinder and Vejdemo combined for two chances with under four minutes remaining. Norlinder’s original shot was saved by Robson, and the Americans goaltender made a sprawling save to stop Vejdemo from his hat trick on the rebound.
Danick Martel had two chances of his own with less than two minutes left, including one shot that rang off the post. That was as close as the Rocket got. With a minute left, following a lost faceoff, and a lost puck battle along the boards, Ryan MacInnis fired the puck in the empty net to make the score 5-3.
The Rocket have Saturday off, but they will try to start a new winning streak on Sunday when they visit the Hershey Bears.
The Rocket went with the same lineup as they did on Wednesday. Primeau started his fifth straight game. With a day off on Saturday before the road trip continues in Hershey, it will be interesting to see if he will get a sixth.