The Rocket saw a three-game winning streak snapped on Friday night when the Senators came back from 2-0 down to snag a 5-3 victory over Laval. It was a frustrating loss as Laval’s mental errors handed a game away to a division rivals. The defeat, and subsequent recall of Corey Schueneman up to Montreal, forced J.-F. Houle into a few small lineup changes.
First was Jan Mysak joining the forward group as the fourth-line centre between Riley McKay and Nate Schnarr. The other big change was Philippe Desrosiers getting the nod for his first Rocket start after Cayden Primeau started Friday’s night’s game.
It was again a spirited start to the contest as the Senators got the first few looks of the game before Mysak and the Rocket fourth line generated several of their own. As Laval’s offence kicked into gear around the Senators’ net, it helped to draw the game’s first penalty. The power play woes continued, but as the first penalty ended the Rocket found themselves heading right back to an odd-man situation.
Maybe to the Rocket’s advantage, Mitchell Stephens was called for interference, moving the game to four-on-four for a brief period. However, the Sens had an abbreviated power play following the four-on-four, and with that space, Egor Sokolov was able to make it a 1-0 game for Belleville with just over nine minutes left to play.
The Rocket were quick to respond, as Joël Teasdale continued his incredible form with a perfect setup pass to Mattias Norlinder. Operating from below the goal line, Teasdale put a puck into space for Norlinder, who walked in and wired one into the far corner of the net.
Mattias Norlinder with an absolute snipe and it's 1-1 in Belleville! pic.twitter.com/AHZ27OlkXA— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) February 19, 2023
Norlinder’s goal woke up the Rocket in a big way as they tallied two more in rapid succession following the rookie defenceman’s marker. Anthony Richard first barrelled into the offensive zone, laying the puck off for Madison Bowey, who sliced right to the front of the net for a beautiful backhand goal of his own.
Madison Bowey cuts through the Senators defence and it's 2-1 Rocket! pic.twitter.com/ufyNnUthox— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) February 19, 2023
Eleven seconds later off the faceoff, Antoine Bibeau mishandled a puck behind the net, leaving it wide open for Joël Teasdale to smack the puck home for his 17th goal of the season.
Bibeau makes a mistake with the puck and Joël Teasdale makes it 3-1! pic.twitter.com/8KCSFa9JCL— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) February 19, 2023
A late power play for the Senators wasn’t able to cut into the deficit as the Rocket headed to the intermission up by a pair of goals.
The frenetic pace of the first period gave way to a more patient approach from both sides in the second. That worked well for Belleville as Cole Reinhardt drove the puck down low, creating a rebound for Roby Jarventie to poke past Desrosiers and cut the Laval lead to a single goal.
The Rocket had a chance to restore their two-goal lead as Egor Sokolov went off for holding. Instead, the game ended up tied when Nicolas Beaudin misplayed a clearing chance and Jake Lucchini stole the puck before finishing the breakaway to make it 3-3 with half the period gone.
The game again shifted into a more cautious state as both sides took turns having extended offensive zone time as the period approached its close. Laval was able to restore their lead thanks to some smart positioning by Brandon Gignac. Tory Dello collected a pass at the point and fired it high off the glass behind Bibeau. The carom landed right in front of Gignac, who slid it home to give the Rocket a 4-3 edge.
Brandon Gignac is right on the spot to smack home the rebound and make it 4-3 Rocket! pic.twitter.com/dx1va9saZf— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) February 19, 2023
Period three opened with the Rocket keeping their foot down, something they had failed to do the night before. With five minutes gone, the Senators hadn’t generated a single shot on goal while Laval circled the offensive zone at will and peppered Bibeau with shots.
Despite the Rocket owning the start of the period, a Sens power play managed to finally break through and find a tying goal. With a mess in front of net, Roby Jarventie was able to sneak a shot through the crowd and make it a 4-4 game with eight minutes left in regulation.
With overtime looming, the Rocket nearly won the game at the death as Olivier Galipeau and Anthony Richard were robbed by desperation saves by Bibeau as the horn sounded. The tight-checking affair then headed to overtime, with the Rocket looking for a sorely needed second point.
The second point wasn’t in the cards once again, as Lucchini was left alone at the side of the net for a goal as he continues to haunt his former team.
Final Score: Belleville 5, Laval 4 (OT)
The three-game series between these two teams concludes on Monday when the Rocket and Senators battle at CAA Arena with a 3 PM puck drop..