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Rocket vs. Americans: Game 1 thread, lineups & how to watch

Laval has home ice advantage for the North Division final.

Rochester Americans v Laval Rocket Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The Laval Rocket and Rochester Americans face off on Sunday night in Game 1 of the best-of-five North Division final. Laval has home-ice advantage despite finishing third in the division because Rochester just snuck into the playoffs with a fifth-place finish.

How to Watch

Laval Rocket vs Rochester Americans
Game 1, North Division Final
7:00 p.m.

TV: RDS2
Radio: 91.9 Sports (French), TSN 690 (English)
Streaming: AHL TV, RDS Direct

The Americans have been hot, winning two series just to get to this point. They defeated the Belleville Senators and Utica Devils, with both series going the distance.

Americans head coach Seth Appert said that Bellville, Utica, and the Syracuse Crunch are all “heavy” physical while he sees his team and the Rocket as “fast” physical. Both teams are weary of the other team’s speed and skill, so don’t expect this series to be too run-and-gun.

Rochester is reliant on a mix of youth and veterans. The marquee names are obviously top prospects like Jack Quinn, Peyton Krebs, and J.J Peterka. Undrafted forward Arttu Ruotsalainen has taken off in this post-season with eight goals and three assists in seven playoff games. The 24-year-old 5’9” Finn is definitely one to watch despite not having the high draft position.

Veterans like Sean Malone, and former Montreal Canadiens defenceman Brandon Davidson also play key roles on the team. Team captain Michael Mersch missed the team’s Game 5 against Utica and won’t play in Game 1. Starting goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is also still out as are Linus Weissbach and Mattias Samuelsson.

For Laval, the team will expect Jesse Ylönen to produce more. He had one goal in the series against Syracuse, and the team keyed on him, especially during Rocket power plays. He told the media on Sunday morning that he needs to be smarter in terms of taking what the defence is giving him.

Jean-François Houle expects to go with 11 forwards and seven defencemen for the fifth straight game. Danick Martel will be in the lineup. He left Game 5 briefly with an upper-body injury. He originally came back to the bench for the second period to be with his teammates, but because he couldn’t make the injury worse, decided to play through the pain. He ended up assisting the series-winning goal in overtime.

Laval Rocket projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Rafaël Harvey-Pinard Jean-Sébastien Dea Jesse Ylönen
Joël Teasdale Cédric Paquette Alex Belzile
Gabriel Bourque Peter Abbandonato Danick Martel
Kevin Roy Brandon Gignac

Defence

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Xavier Ouellet Louie Belpedio
Sami Niku Tory Dello
Tobie Paquette-Bisson Corey Schueneman
Mattias Norlinder

Goaltenders

Starter Backup
Starter Backup
Cayden Primeau Kevin Poulin

Rochester Americans projected lineup

Forwards

Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Jack Quinn Sean Malone Lukas Rousek
Brett Murray Mark Jankowski Arttu Ruotsalainen
Brandon Biro Peyton Krebs JJ Peterka
Ryan MacInnis Ben Holmstrom

Defence

Left Defence Right Defence
Left Defence Right Defence
Brandon Davidson Casey Fitzgerald
Jimmy Schuldt Ethan Prow
Peter Tischke Mark Alt
Nick Boka

Goaltenders

Starter Backup
Starter Backup
Aaron Dell Michael Houser