Laval Survives 6-5 Triple Overtime Battle to Sweep Rochester, Advances to Conference Finals
By Matthew Tkatch
The Laval Rocket were able to come away with a miraculous win, in what was an instant classic versus the Rochester Americans on Wednesday night. The 6-5 triple OT victory was a back and forth thriller, in which there were ninety-nine combined shots, eleven combined goals, and nearly one-hundred and two minutes of play in the game. This completed the best of five sweep for Laval, who will now wait for their opponent to be determined.
The first period got off to a quick start, with the Americans striking first in just over one minute of play. The score from Mark Jankoski set the tone for the game, with non-stop goals being the main story of the game. This was followed up shortly after with a powerplay goal from Rochester, with J.J. Peterka extending their lead to 2-0. Two of their first three shots were successful, as the first period went clearly in the direction of the Americans.
The second period started off slowly, with both teams fighting hard to help their cause. It wasn’t until nearly fourteen minutes in, when Laval was able to get on the board for the first time. The goal by Brandon Gignac cut the deficit to only one, sparking Laval’s hopes for a series sweep. This was the start of an amazing scoring run for the Rocket, who proceeded to overload the Americans with their scorching hot offence. Goals from Danick Martel, Xavier Ouellet, and Jean-Sébastien Dea flipped the script on Rochester, boosting the score to 4-2 in favour of Laval. The series of four goals took less than four minutes of ice time, and completely shifted the momentum of the game thus far.
The third period couldn’t have gotten kicked off any faster than it did, with Rochester scoring a goal of their own after only thirteen seconds. The goal by Brett Murray launched the Americans right back into the thick of this back and forth match. On top of this, it only took an extra minute and seventeen seconds for Rochester to score once more, with J.J. Peterka netting his second of the game. Now a 4-4 game, it was evident neither team would be backing down from adversity. The momentum continued to swing in the direction of Rochester, with Brett Murray scoring his second of the game, and the Rochester Americans taking a crucial late game 5-4 lead. As hope for Laval was dwindling, it was Jesse Ylönen who came up huge in the Rocket’s time of need. With less than two minutes remaining, Ylönen evened up the score with a timely power play goal. With regulation time expiring, the back and forth game was now heading to overtime.
The first overtime was fairly uneventful, with neither team marking a goal following the action-packed sixty minutes that preceded it. Both teams were landing several shots on net, with neither squad ready to call it quits just yet. The stalemate lasted the entire twenty minutes, pushing the game to a rare second overtime period. This exact situation played out once more, with both teams failing to score in the second overtime as well. Forty minutes worth of overtime was still not enough for the tie to be broken between Laval and Rochester.
It took the game to get into its third overtime before the winner was finally crowned. It was forward Jean-Sébastien Dea who was able to finally pull through and put the game, and ultimately the series, to rest.
The game-winning goal from Dea completed the series sweep for the Rocket, who were able to take care of business on the road versus Rochester. It now leaves Laval with a sizable break before they face their next opponent, which will be the winner of the series between the Springfield Thunderbirds and the Charlotte Checkers. With a marquee matchup in the conference finals looming, the team now has a large chunk of time to rest, regroup, and prepare for their eventual opponent.