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Laval Drops Game 1 Versus Springfield, Losing to the Thunderbirds 2-1 in Overtime

By Matthew Tkatch

The opening match was down to the wire, but it was ultimately the Springfield Thunderbirds who emerged victorious. The two goaltenders stole the show, with only three combined goals being scored throughout the night. Game 1 was a very strong defensive battle that was never quite out of reach for Springfield, whose late regulation goal allowed them to complete their comeback in overtime. Game 2 will be played Sunday, June 5th at MassMutual Center, at 5:05 PM EST.

The first period was mostly a feeling-out process for both squads, with no major game events taking place in the first twenty minutes of the game. The opening period marked the first time that the two Calder Cup hopefuls faced off against each other in the playoffs, and it was evident that this series will be a close and competitive matchup going forward. What stood out immediately was the stellar play from both goaltenders, with both goalies providing their teams with excellent net protection. Both Laval’s Cayden Primeau and Springfield’s Joel Hofer played phenomenal games, with both facing a heavy amount of shots throughout the match.

The second period took a while to get into full swing, but it was eventually Laval forward Danick Martel who was able to break the scoring drought for both teams. Coming fifteen minutes into the second period, it took more than half of regulation time for either team to get onto the board. Martel has proven to be one of the more reliable skaters for the Rocket, with this being his seventh goal of the playoffs thus far. This would end up being the lone goal of the period, giving Laval a 1-0 lead as the two teams entered the third period.

The defensive clash continued well into the third period, with neither team being able to add to their goal tally. It was looking more and more like a Laval road victory as time continued to dwindle down, as the Thunderbirds struggled to compete against the strong Rocket defence. Springfield was then finally able to even up the score with Laval, with their crucial goal coming with under three minutes left in regulation. This last-minute score by Brady Lyle tied up the game, and pushed the opening match of the series to overtime. Springfield was then able to complete their comeback, with an overtime winning goal coming courtesy of former Rocket center Matthew Peca.

A disappointing outcome for the Laval Rocket, as they fall to the Springfield Thunderbirds 2-1 in an overtime loss. The silver lining, however, is that this is the first series for the Rocket that will be a best of seven series. This is opposed to the previous two rounds, which were both determined by winning the best of five. With defence and goaltending being strengths for the Rocket, it will be imperative for their offence to be able to shine as well. The next game will be played Sunday, June 5th at MassMutual Center, at 5:05 PM EST.