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Rocket @ Heat recap & highlights: Joël Teasdale’s big day secures a fifth straight win

It was another strong showing by the Rocket as they clinched a series win in Calgary

Club de Hockey Canadien

After another strong showing and a win over their closest divisional rival, the Laval Rocket had another meeting with the Stockton Heat in Calgary. Joël Bouchard made just a handful of lineup changes, sliding in Arsen Khisamutdinov and Yannick Veilluex in place of Liam Hawel and Michael Pezzetta. Cayden Primeau was the named starter after Michael McNiven got the start the previous game, and Vasili Demchenko served as his backup.

It took just 67 seconds for Laval to get on the board, continuing a recent trend of hot starts. A puck hopped over Alexander Yelesin’s stick, sending Joël Teasdale and Joseph Blandisi down the ice. Teasdale dove to push the puck across to Blandisi, who cooly finished the play by sliding a backhand shot through the five-hole on Garret Sparks.

Then, Veilleux found himself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Just two minutes after Blandisi’s goal, Veilleux came barreling in at Martin Pospisil in the offensive zone, and delivered a crushing knee-on-knee hit that left the Heat forward in serious pain. Veilleux was sent to the showers, being given a major penalty and game misconduct. It also left the Rocket in a tough spot, having to kill a five-minute penalty against a dangerous Stockton power play. However, Cayden Primeau and the Laval penalty-killers handled it fairly easily, keeping their lead intact.

After the long kill, the Rocket launched themselves back into the game, peppering Sparks repeatedly in the offensive zone. Their pressure eventually drew a holding call and the Rocket looked to double their lead with their first power play of the afternoon.

The man advantage failed to do much of anything as the Rocket struggled to not only get the puck into the offensive zone, but to even break out from their own end of the ice against the Heat penalty-killers.

On the next shot on goal by the Heat following that advantage, they found the back of the net. A faceoff win cycled the puck to Michael Stone on the blue line, and he belted his second goal of the season past Primeau, tying the game at a goal apiece.

Laval pushed right back, but weren’t able to squeak another one by Sparks before the horn went, sending the sides into the intermission tied at one.

The Rocket jumped all over the Heat early in the middle frame, piling up plenty of shots, but a dubious interference penalty on Lukas Vejdemo brought that to a halt. The Heat pushed, but the Laval penalty-killers again handled the man advantage.

Laval then had a pair of power-play chances to try to capitalize, but it was Sparks’s strong goaltending that denied Laval a lead they had very much deserved by this point in the contest. Even at five-on-five, the Rocket were controlling the flow of play, but a stubborn Heat side refused to break.

With a fresh sheet of ice, and nearly a full power play to work with, the Heat were in a prime position to take an early third-period lead. The Laval penalty kill again stifled the Stockton man advantage, not allowing them to generate any sort of meaningful attack on Primeau.

With overtime seemingly a foregone conclusion, the Rocket finally broke down Sparks thanks to a bit of patience from Ryan Poehling. An errant pass from the Heat found its way to his stick at the offensive blue line, and he held for a second before leaving the puck off for Blandisi. The veteran winger took it and charging toward the net, before pulling up and threading a pass across to Teasdale. The rookie forward waited for his shot to open up and rifled one over Sparks’s shoulder to put Laval up by a goal with five minutes left to play.

As the Rocket tried to see out the game they took one final penalty, a delay of game call on Jordan Weal that threatened their late lead. A strong kill during a six-on-four allowed Blandisi to finally dunk in an insurance goal into the empty net after multiple chances went just wide to seal the game. Sparks did stay on the bench, even after Weal exited the box, and Teasdale added one more empty-net goal to leave no doubt as to the result, as the Rocket claimed a third straight win over the Heat.

Final Score: Laval 4, Stockton 1

This series has one game left, a Tuesday night showdown at 5:00 PM MDT/7:00 PM EDT, and with the Rocket comfortably leading the Canadian Division by six points, it will be interesting to see what changes Bouchard might make.

Three Stars

  1. Joseph Blandisi (2G, 1A)
  2. Joël Teasdale (2G, 1A)
  3. Cayden Primeau (20 Saves, Win)