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Laval defeats Rochester 3-1 in Game 2, pushing the Americans to the brink of elimination

By Matthew Tkatch

The Laval Rocket were able to further their series lead over the Rochester Americans, securing a Game 2 victory on Monday night at Place Bell. This gave them a two game advantage in their matchup, and are now one win away from the conference finals. Laval has been playing phenomenal hockey throughout this series, only allowing one goal per game vs the Americans. Laval will look to close out their matchup with Rochester on Wednesday night at 7:05PM at Blue Cross Arena.

With little time to rest after Sunday’s 6-1 blowout victory, the Rocket wasted no time getting back into the swing of things in Game 2. Laval was the first on the scoreboard in just over five minutes of play, with Brandon Gignac delivering the first blow. This would be the sole goal of the first period, but the main takeaway was Laval’s stellar defence early on. Having more than doubled Rochester’s shot total, the Rocket were in command from the get go. They would hold the Americans to only seven first period shots, while attempting sixteen of their own.

It took only five minutes into the second period before Laval was able to double their goal total, scoring once more. This time it was defenceman Louie Belpedio who was able to tally a goal, and provide Laval the insurance they were looking for. Although Rochester began to pick up their game in the second period, the airtight Laval defence was able to keep them at bay. Combined with Cayden Primeau’s hot hand, it was simply too difficult for the Americans to manage any real progress against the Rocket defence.

A third period brought back and forth action between the two teams, as the hostility continued on both sides. Towards the nine-minute mark, it was Lucas Condotta who was able to push the Laval lead to 3-0, putting the game nearly out of reach. Any potential comeback hopes were extinguished after the final Laval goal, which was also Condotta’s first score of the playoffs. A shutout for Cayden Primeau was looking more and more likely as time went on, but hopes were put to rest after Rochester scored their first and only goal of the contest. It was Mark Janikowski who put the puck in the net with just under three minutes left, marking his fifth goal of the playoffs. Time then shortly expired, giving the Rocket a 3-1 home ice victory.

The series now makes its way to Rochester, New York, where Game 3 will be held at Blue Cross Arena, on Wednesday May 25th at 7:05PM. If the Rocket are able to pull out a victory then, it would be the final game of the series and provide the Laval Rocket an extended break, as they’d advance to the conference finals. One has to think that based on how this team has been playing as of late, the Calder Cup is within the realm of possibilities for the Rocket organization.