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Laval vs. Texas recap & highlights: Rocket storm back, but can’t reach the Stars

Another strong game from Laurent Dauphin wasn’t enough to secure both points against the Stars.

Club de Hockey Canadien

It was a bit of a historical night at Place Bell for the Laval Rocket. For the first time in franchise history, they welcomed the Texas Stars to their building. Laval was coming off a rough stretch against Belleville, where they dropped three straight games to their division rival last week, while the Stars entered the game on a two-game losing streak of their own. Each team also found itself in a similar spot within its respective division, sitting in sixth place, and a few games under .500.

The Rocket lineup didn’t look overly different from the previous week minus the absence of team captain Xavier Ouellet. The Rocket had called up Charles-David Beaudoin from the ECHL, but opted to give Terrance Amorosa and Carl Neill the chance to play on Wednesday night. In net it was Cayden Primeau getting the start, backed up by Kevin Poulin who was called up since Michael McNiven missed the game due to a non-COVID illness.

Laval started brightly, pushing the puck deep into the Stars’ zone, and generating some decent looks but none that tested Adam Scheel in the early minutes. Texas was able to take advantage of that as they launched into an odd-man rush going the other way, and despite a strong break-up, the Stars kept the play alive. Alex Petrovic fired a shot on net that Cayden Primeau had a bead on, but the shot hit a skate and allowed Nick Caamano to direct it home.

Following Caamano’s goal, the game settled into a lull for both clubs as they each added just a single shot to both of their tallies as the first period crossed its halfway point. The Rocket shattered that lull however, as Laurent Dauphin continued his torrid pace. He worked the puck deep into the Texas zone, and fed a pass to Louie Belpedio, who worked into the middle of the ice and rifled his third goal of the year past Scheel.

With the game tied, the Rocket almost immediately gave back control of the game as Schueneman went off for tripping. The Stars, however, evened up the penalties as Thomas Harley launched Gabriel Bourque’s stick into the rafters away from the play. In the ensuing four-on-four situation, the Stars tripped up J.-S. Dea on a breakaway, giving Laval a penalty shot opportunity. Dea made a nice move, but Scheel stuck with him the whole way, kicking out his pad to deny the vet a goal.

The Rocket nearly started the second period with a bang as the fourth line generated a breakaway chance for Alexandre Fortin. The winger broke in on Scheel, put the moves on, but failed to lift his shot over the goalie’s pads.

Soon after that missed chance, Dea missed his pass, and Anthony Louis took advantage as he roofed a backhand shot by Primeau to make it a 2-1 game.

Falling behind again seemed to spark the legs of the Rocket, as they began pushing back with much more gusto than before. The Laval counter-attack led to another breakaway chance, with Kevin Roy being the man all alone with Scheel, but again it was the Stars’ netminder coming up big with another save.

Laval had a chance to tie the game as Ben Gleason was sent to the box for interference, but the Rocket power play failed to generate much of anything in terms of pressure. After their advantage expired, they began a parade to the box of their own. First Brandon Baddock was off for slashing, then before the puck could even be dropped for the Texas power play, Dauphin and Curtis McKenzie got into a tussle and they both headed to the box. Then to cap it off, Alex Belzile was called for high-sticking Riley Tufte, giving the Stars a five-on-three advantage. Texas made the most of it as Louis buried the one-time feed to make it a two-goal lead for the Stars as the teams headed into the second intermission.

The Rocket needed a stronger effort in the third period that was lacking in the second. They started the period by almost instantly allowing a breakaway chance, but Primeau was up to the task to keep the deficit at two goals.

Laval finally found another breakthrough on Scheel with about four-and-a-half minutes gone. Schueneman took a pass from Jesse Ylönen along the blue line and let a low, hard shot go toward the net. Rafaël Harvey-Pinard was flying by, slowed the shot down, and then lifted a backhand shot past Scheel to make it a one-goal game early in the third period.

The physical game continued as the game wore on, and the Rocket hammered away for chances. It wasn’t until the final moments when the Rocket finally found their tying goal, and once again it was Dauphin delivering the goods. Tobie Paquette-Bisson weaved his way through Texas defenders and when he was finally free he turned and fired a low shot that Scheel kicked away with his pad. That rebound went right to Dauphin, who cut across the front of goal while shifting the puck to his backhand before putting home his 11th goal of the season.

That goal was good enough to force overtime, but the Rocket weren’t able to collect a second point in the comeback. A shot was blocked high into the air, so the Rocket attempted to change on the fly in the offensive zone, but the puck dropped and iwas fired ahead to Ty Dellandrea, who had slid in behind the defence. Dauphin dove to try to prevent the breakaway, but Dellandrea cooly tucked the goal by a sprawling Primeau as Dauphin crashed into the net as well.

Final Score: Texas 4, Laval 3 (OT)

In for a day off, the same two teams return to Place Bell on Friday night at 7:00 PM.