Jordan Weal’s fifth goal of the season finished a sensational comeback as the Laval Rocket scored three goals in 2:13 late in the third period to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead in their 5-3 win over the Manitoba Moose on Sunday afternoon at Bell MTS Place.
The winning goal came with 3:46 remaining in the game. Ryan Poehling and Hayden Verbeek started the comeback, and Cayden Primeau made 20 saves. Rafaël Harvey-Pinard also scored, and Joseph Blandisi added an empty net goal.
The Rocket turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead in just 2:13. Jordan Weal with the goal after a turnover. pic.twitter.com/YWH32CAkA8— Jared Book (@jaredbook) March 28, 2021
“We’re a relentless group,” Blandisi said. “We know if we stick to our structure for 60 minutes, we’re going to get our chances and we’re going to score on them too.”
“We gave ourselves a chance to win,” said Rocket head coach Joël Bouchard. “This was a game where if you don’t give yourself a chance to win you lose 5-1.”
With 1:59 remaining in the third period, Guillaume Brisebois took a holding penalty to give the Moose a last chance to get back into the game. Manitoba pulled Mikhail Berdin to give themselves a two-player advantage on the power play.
Manitoba’s best chance came with just over a minute remaining when the loose puck bounced to C.J. Suess but the backhand attempt went just wide. Shortly after, Joseph Blandisi fired a clearing attempt into the empty net to seal the win.
Similar to a game last week with the Stockton Heat, the Rocket struggled to start the game. They did nothing with their first power play, and through the first 16 minutes failed to get a single shot on net.
The Moose also didn’t get many opportunities early on, but after the Rocket killed their first penalty of the game, Manitoba was able to take the lead on their second power play. Cole Perfetti faked a shot and fed Kristian Vesalainen who fired a shot past Cayden Primeau.
The Rocket tied the game up before the end of the first period. On the same shift that they recorded their first shot of the game, their second shot resulted in the tying goal. Rafaël Harvey-Pinard centred the puck from the goal line, and it ended up going behind Berdin to make it 1-1.
Right before the goal, Jesse Ylönen was hit hard by Jimmy Oligny. He stayed down on the ice afterwards and did not return to the game.
This is the hit that forced Jesse Ylönen to leave the game. He has yet to return. pic.twitter.com/rmlM8FL0Vy— Jared Book (@jaredbook) March 28, 2021
Early in the second period, the Moose could have had another goal as Leon Gawanke had a shot beat Primeau and may have gone in the net. However, there is no video review in the arena so the play on the ice, where officials said it hit the post, stood.
After a more energized start to the second period for both teams, there was a fight as after a big hit on Jordan Weal, Michael Pezzetta fought Oligny, who made his second big hit of the game. Jan Myšàk also left the game after taking a hit in the third period about a minute before Weal’s winning goal.
“We don’t like seeing two young players leave the game,” Bouchard said. “I wouldn’t say they were overly vicious hits but we have to protect our players.”
“We look towards the refs to protect us and they’re trying to do the best job they can but hopefully we get some safer play [going forward],” Blandisi said.
Shortly after another penalty was killed by the Rocket, Manitoba had a couple of chances but Primeau shut the door. The next shift, Kristian Reichel capitalized on a turnover behind the Laval net. The puck came in front of the net and Reichel showed patience to eventually beat Primeau with a backhand.
Manitoba had another power play chance in the opening minute of the third period, but they did not take advantage. The period was relatively low event for the first five minutes until a fight between Brandon Baddock and Johnathan Kovacevic. Shortly after, Laval went on a power play of their own with 13:55 remaining after Joël Teasdale was tripped.
They could not take advantage and shortly after the penalty expired, Gawanke made it 3-1 after missing his chance earlier. He fired a shot off a Rocket defender and past Primeau with just under 12 minutes left in the third period. Later, Marko Dano had a great chance to make it 4-1 when he had a loose puck and a wide open net from the slot but his shot went wide.
In the second half of the third period, penalties gave Laval a chance to get back into the game. Back-to-back power plays gave the Rocket a brief 15 second five-on-three. They didn’t capitalize on that, but after the first penalty expired, Ryan Poehling pounced on a loose puck close to the net to make it 3-2.
Only 11 seconds later, Verbeek capitalized on a Moose turnover and fired his first goal of the season to tie the game.
Verbeek was playing his first game of the season for Laval.
“Attitude is everything,” Bouchard said. “Hayden has been working and waiting for his opportunity. I was so happy for him and proud of him. I challenged him to take that opportunity and he did it.”
Hayden Verbeek is playing his first game of the season and scores a huge goal to tie this game at 3-3. pic.twitter.com/E6U6zOIIFD— Jared Book (@jaredbook) March 28, 2021
Weal finished the three-goal run for Laval with his fifth goal of the season and third point of the night.
“It shows the character we have as a group. All the guys are sticking up for each other. It starts in the locker room and bleeds onto the ice,” Blandisi said.
Cam Hillis and Hayden Verbeek replaced Arsen Khisamutdinov and Liam Hawel. Myšàk was getting a lot more responsibility in this game before he got hit. He was on the second power play unit, and also got time killing penalties.
When Ylönen left the game, Cale Fleury took his spot on the power play.
Once again, no changes were made on defence. Alex Belzile and Lukas Vejdemo were ruled out for the rest of the road trip that ends Tuesday in Winnipeg. Yannick Veilleux will return to the lineup after serving his four-game suspension.
The Rocket have points in nine straight games, with an overtime loss in Winnipeg the only blemish on their 6-0-1 road trip.