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Rocket @ Monsters recap & highlights: Condotta, Richard lead scoring in big win

The Rocket bounce back with a big two points.

AHL: JAN 28 Laval Rocket at Cleveland Monsters Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Lucas Condotta had a hat trick and Anthony Richard added two goals as the Laval Rocket beat the Cleveland Monsters 7-4 on Saturday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland.

The two teams combined for 11 goals just one night after Cayden Primeau and Jet Greaves were outstanding in a 3-2 overtime win for the Monsters. Both goaltenders started again on Saturday.

Primeau had to be solid early on, making six saves in the first 2:33 of the game as the Monsters had a good start to the game. It was the Rocket who got on the scoreboard first, however.

Anthony Richard scored his first of two goals of the game when he took a cross-ice pass from Mitchell Stephens and fired a wrist shot from the right circle past Greaves on the power play.

The Laval power play stayed hot when Joël Teasdale tipped a Peter Abbandonato pass past Greaves to make it 2-0 just over four minutes later. It was Teasdale’s 13th goal in 18 games and sixth in his last five games. William Trudeau also kept his point streak going with an assist on the goal.

Cleveland had two power play chances in the first, but the Laval penalty kill was perfect and stayed perfect with a 4/4 night. Their best chance came in the dying seconds of the first period when Justin Richards had a partial breakaway, but Primeau made the save. The Rocket goaltender, playing his third game of the week since being sent down, made 29 saves.

Early in the second period, the Rocket power play struck again when Lucas Condotta scored his first goal of the game with a shot along the goal line that went in off of Greaves. The Rocket power play went 3/7 on the night, and gave them a 3-0 lead.

Cleveland got one back while the goal was being announced. Just 1:15 after Condotta’s goal, Roman Ahcan fired a long wrist shot past Primeau that the Rocket goaltender might like to have back to make it 3-1.

That got the Monsters momentum because less than two minutes after that goal, Brandon Davidson had tons of space and walked into a slap shot from the left circle to make it 3-2. It was the third goal of the period just 4:21 into the second.

After the goal, Rocket assistant Kelly Buchberger motioned to Jean-Francois Houle to take a timeout, which he did. Laval still had the lead, but Cleveland had seized momentum and got the crowd back into it.

Later in the period, Laval took back control of the game. Condotta scored his second of the game when he tipped the Brandon Gignac shot on a broken two-on-one and 1:06 later, Riley McKay, making his Rocket debut, scored his first career AHL goal.

That goal was the end of the night for Greaves, who made 12 saves on 17 shots on the night. Pavel Cajan took over but was only forced to make three saves on four shots in 22:04 of action.

Score effects affected the third period with the Rocket leading 5-2. Cleveland outshot Laval 14-3 in the final period, but the Rocket scored on two of those shots. Canadiens draft pick Cole Fonstad made it 5-3 for the Monsters early in the third, but Richard responded with his second of the game a few minutes later.

The two teams traded goals later in the period with Richards scoring for Cleveland and Condotta completing the hat trick into the empty net with 3:52 remaining.

Laval now has most of the week off before playing next Friday and Saturday night in Toronto against the division-leading Marlies followed by the All Star Weekend in Laval on Sunday and Monday.

Lineup

The only change from how the Rocket have been lining up the last few games was McKay in the game for John Parker-Jones. With Alex Belzile with the Montreal Canadiens and Gabriel Bourque injured, Richard, Corey Schueneman, and Mitchell Stephens wore the A’s for the Rocket.

Standings

The Rocket pulled a bit farther ahead for the final playoff spot in the division with three out of four points in the weekend back-to-back against the Monsters, and kept their seven-game point streak alive.