A strong third period comeback bid fell just short as the Laval Rocket fell to the Toronto Marlies 4-3 at the Coca Cola Coliseum on Friday night.
Jesse Ylönen, Josh Brook, and Joseph Blandisi each had a goal, while the last two added and assists in the loss, which ended a three-game road trip for the Rocket. The two teams will meet again Sunday at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
The game started off with a bang. Just 23 seconds into the game, Scott Sabourin drove to the net. He collided with Rocket goaltender Cayden Primeau, and after Lukas Vejdemo went up to him, he started throwing punches. Vejdemo got two minutes for roughing, but Sabourin got five for fighting, two for goaltender interference, and a game misconduct for being the aggressor.
The result was a five minute power play for the Rocket, but the team failed to score with the advantage for the seventh straight game. Laval managed four shots during the major penalty.
Laval did end up opening the scoring at even strength. Joseph Blandisi finished a play in front of the net that beat Joseph Woll, making his first start of the season. It was Blandisi’s third goal of the year.
The Marlies ended up tying the game less than five minutes later. Nic Petan pounced on a loose puck to beat Primeau.
Shortly after the goal, the first game of the rivalry continued to heat up when Tobie Paquette-Bisson and Rich Clune went off for fighting.
Toronto started the second period off strong. After some nice passing between Alex Galchenyuk and Petan, Alexander Barabanov was alone behind the Rocket defence. Primeau slipped in his movement, leaving the open cage for the Marlies forward.
The line struck again before the midway point of the period, when Galchenyuk fired a shot that beat Primeau. It was his second goal in the AHL this season.
Shortly after the 3-1 goal, Galchenyuk and Blandisi had a disagreement at the bench which led to penalties to both players. Blandisi received an extra two minutes, but Toronto did not score on the power play.
The tide started to turn shortly after for Laval. Alex Belzile entered the zone, and passed the puck back to Ylönen. The Finn then walked in and fired a perfect shot past Woll to make it 3-2.
Don't give Jesse Ylönen this much time to shoot. He cuts the deficit to 3-2. pic.twitter.com/8r4GbvD06D— Jared Book (@jaredbook) March 13, 2021
Two minutes after the goal, the Rocket had a great opportunity to tie the game. Timothy Liljegren fired the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty. However, the Marlies scored the only goal during the penalty. Rafaël Harvey-Pinard lost the puck at the offensive blue line. It created a two-on-two going the other way.
Otto Leskinen and Ryan Poehling couldn’t contain the attack and Kalle Kossila found Joey Anderson who fired the puck past Primeau to restore Toronto’s two-goal lead.
In the third period, the Rocket struggled to break through the Marlies defensive shell. They created chances through puck possession during the period, but were kept to the outside and didn’t get many dangerous chances. Toronto was content to clear the puck and use the clock to their advantage.
With just under seven minutes remaining in the game, puck movement allowed Brook to have room at the blue line. The defenceman blasted a shot past Woll to make it 4-3.
Josh Brook wires his second of the year, and it's a one-goal game once again. pic.twitter.com/XTTSH5zzUG— Jared Book (@jaredbook) March 13, 2021
Laval continued to pressure the Marlies trying to get the tying goal. Their best chance as the game wound down was with under five minutes remaining. Harvey-Pinard found Jordan Weal on the doorstep, but he couldn’t beat the Toronto goaltender.
The Rocket had one final chance. After a long lob shot from their own zone found the empty net, the goal was called off because a Toronto player was offside. It led to an offensive zone faceoff that Poehling won. That was as close as the Rocket got.
Cayden Primeau started his third straight game. Gustav Olofsson left the team as his partner is set to give birth. He will miss the team’s Western road trip, and will be out at least two weeks due to quarantine. He was replaced by Nathanael Halbert.
The top nine was the same as it was for their last game against Belleville. Jan Mysak played his second consecutive game on the fourth line, but had two different wingers for this one.