LAVAL (April 3, 2019) – The Laval Rocket opened their final week of home games of the 2018-2019 season with a game against the Cleveland Monsters at Place Bell on Wednesday night, where Joël Bouchard and his troops composed of just 11 forwards fell to their opponents by a score of 5-0.
The Rocket and their divisional rival swapped overlapping penalties twice in the opening frame, and the second time the Monsters were able to net a four-on-four goal to get ahead by one. Alexandre Texier fired a wrist shot right under the far crossbar to beat Connor LaCouvee, giving him his fourth goal of the season. Alex Belzile came inches away from tying the game in the final 15 seconds of the period but he deflected David Sklenicka’s shot just wide of the net however, sending the Rocket to the dressing room down 1-0.
Cleveland’s Brad Thiessen maintained his shutout through the second period and his teammates added two goals to their lead, making the score 3-0 in favour of the visitors after forty minutes of play. Texier doubled his team’s lead halfway through the second period with a wrist shot that went low on LaCouvee’s glove side while Gabriel Carlsson scored his second of the season from the slot in the final two minutes of play, thanks in part to a smart pass from Sam Vigneault. An injury to Jake Evans that occurred late in the period kept the Rocket forward out of lineup for the remainder of the game.
Derek Barach’s shot from the blue line early in the third period found its way under the far crossbar and with LaCouvee being screened by multiple players on the play, there wasn’t much he could do to prevent Barach from making it 4-0 in favour of the Monsters. Kevin Stenlund sent a final puck in the net for Cleveland with a little less than six minutes to play in the period, securing the final score of 5-0.
“It’s disappointing,” said captain Xavier Ouellet after the game about being eliminated from the playoffs. “But at the same time the players here are all individually playing for something. Players are playing for their career, for their contracts, for a lot of reasons. There’s no room for us to give up or to stop working, and I think everyone has their own reasons to keep performing.”
CLE: Texier (Dalpe, Clendening) | Texier (Somerby, Collins) | Carlsson (Vigneault, Simpson) | Barach | Stenlund (MacInnis, Bittner)
Goaltenders: LAV: LaCouvee (25/30) | CLE: Thiessen (20/20)
Rocket Powerplay: 0/4 | Rocket Penalty Kill: 2/2
Three Stars: 1. Alexandre Texier – CLE | 2. Zac Dalpe – CLE | 3. Brad Thiessen – CLE