Enjoy some writeups on the Laval Rocket!

A Close One

by Ariane Audet, April 22, 2021

The Laval Rocket were back in action last night, visiting the Belleville Senators in Ottawa. The team had not played since April 10 and the players were undoubtedly excited to get back to work. Four players returned from injury for the Rocket: Lukas Vejdemo, Alex Belzile, Jan Myšák and Jesse Ylönen.

The first period did not start the way the Rocket would have wanted. The Senators scored early in the first half of the period, and the Rocket did not look like they were following the pace. In the second half of the period, the Rocket looked a lot more focused and played their usual style. Tobie Paquette-Bisson benefited from traffic in front of Filip Gustavsson and scored his first AHL goal on a wrister from the point. A little later, Joseph Blandisi won a faceoff and then Joel Teasdale quickly buried the puck to make it 2-1 for his team. It was a slow period for Michael McNiven, who made 3 saves on 4 shots. The Rocket finished the period with 11 shots on goal.

1st period goals: Mark Kastelic (4), Tobie Paquette-Bisson (1), Joel Teasdale (7)

The second period was much better for the Rocket; Lukas Vejdemo scored early, deflecting Alex Belzile’s shot towards the net. The Rocket continued applying pressure on the Senators but were not able to add to their lead. At the end of the period, the Rocket handed the Senators an opportunity as Michael Pezzetta and Gustav Olofsson took penalties 46 seconds apart. Ryan Poehling and his teammates were stellar on the penalty kill and killed it off easily. McNiven was once again solid, stopping every puck thrown at him in the second period. In the last minute of the period, the Senators rushed up the ice on a 2-on-1 and McNiven did the splits to catch the puck in his glove and prevent a last-minute goal. The shots were 29-17 Rocket after two periods.

2nd period goal: Lukas Vejdemo (5)

The third period was a rollercoaster of emotions. Ryan Poehling, who is having an amazing season, scored with a little more than 5 minutes gone to make it 4-1 Rocket. He shot the puck off the side post and in to earn his tenth goal of the season. Not too long after, Belzile intercepted a pass in the slot and passed it to Vejdemo who put the puck in an open net for his second of the game. It was a brilliant play by Belzile, who intercepted that pass from Lassi Thomson. From that point on, it was all Senators. They had multiple chances on the power play and scored three consecutive goals to make it 5-4 with 1:18 left to play at the end of the period. Thankfully, the Rocket held on and were able to get the win. The final shot count was 37-30 in favour of the Rocket.

3rd period goals: Ryan Poehling (10), Lukas Vejdemo (6), Angus Crookshank (2), Cole Reinhardt (4), Parker Kelly (6)

The three stars of the game were Lukas Vejdemo (2 goals), Mark Kastelic (1 goal, 1 assist) and Alex Belzile (3 assists). Having Vejdemo, Belzile, Ylönen and Myšák back in the lineup was a treat for Rocket fans, even if Ylönen and Myšák did not appear on the scoring sheet. Ryan Poehling also had a great game, bringing his point total to 20 in 26 games, and the evolution of his all-around game is impressive. He is skating better, focused and confident, and it shows. Other honorable mentions: Tobie Paquette-Bisson, Michael McNiven and the Pezzetta - Myšák - Harvey-Pinard line who worked hard all game long. Hopefully we get to see more of this line in the following games!

The Rocket’s next game is Friday, April 23rd at 7pm (Eastern Time).

Ariane Audet is a lifelong Montreal Canadiens fan, born and raised in Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec. Because of her love for the Montreal Canadiens, she has developed an interest in the Canadiens’ farm teams over the years. You can find her on Twitter at @kotkaniemiii.