TORONTO (February 2, 2019) – The Laval Rocket and the Toronto Marlies gave the busload of Rocket fans who made the trip from Laval to the Coca-Cola Coliseum a tight, entertaining game on Saturday afternoon, as an early goal for the Marlies held as the only one until the final two minutes of play. Connor LaCouvee made 24 saves in the Rocket’s loss, while Kasimir Kaskisuo turned away all of Laval’s 33 shots.
Sam Gagner got the Marlies on the board early in the first period as his slap shot on the powerplay beat Rocket netminder LaCouvee glove side, giving Toronto a 1-0 lead that lasted the remainder of the period. Despite the Marlies opening the scoring however, it was a tight period with the Rocket just edging out their divisional rival eight to seven in shots and with each team seeing some powerplay time.
The second period was largely dominated by the visitors, who sent 13 shots on Toronto’s Kaskisuo. Though the period was scoreless, Alex Belzile came very close to tying the game for the Rocket as he sent the puck five-hole on Kaskisuo on a breakway, who squeezed his pads just on time to prevent the puck from trickling past the goal line.
The game was a close 1-0 battle until the final two minutes of play when Trevor Moore sent the puck into the net while LaCouvee was on the bench in favour of the extra attacker. Even with a two-goal deficit the Rocket fought to get back into the game, but a second empty-net goal for the Marlies locked in the final score of 3-0.
“I challenged the guys this morning,” explained Joël Bouchard after the game. “I know people will see the result of 3-0, but there were two goals in an empty net and we played one of the really good teams in our league. I think we had a great game, especially with ten rookies in our lineup. [The score] is deceiving.”
TOR: S. Gagne (Rosen) | Moore (Mueller, Rosen) | Mueller (Moore)
Goaltenders: LAV: LaCouvee (24/25) | TOR: Kaskisuo (33/33)
Rocket Powerplay: 0/4| Rocket Penalty Kill: 1/2
Three Stars: 1. Kasimir Kaskisuo – TOR | 2. Connor LaCouvee – LAV | 3. Calle Rosen – TOR