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The Rocket is off and running

LAVAL, CANADA – OCTOBER 20: Rochester Americans v Laval Rocket at Place Bell on October 20, 2023 in Laval, QC, Canada. (Photo by Arianne Bergeron / Arena du Rocket Inc.)

By Justin Vézina

A first point. A first victory. And a first shower of caps at Place Bell.

That’s how the Rocket’s latest sequence of games can be summed up.

First, the Laval club staged a spectacular comeback on Wednesday against the Rochester Americans, erasing a 3-0 deficit to force overtime. The Americans ultimately triumphed 5-4, but the table was set for Friday’s duel. This first point only exacerbated the players’ desire for victory.

Jean-François Houle’s troops were unstoppable in their second duel against the Americans. The siren sounded eight times to mark the Rocket’s goals as they outscored the New York club 8-4.

At the heart of this victory, Joshua Roy collected five points, including a natural hat trick.

LAVAL, CANADA – OCTOBER 20: Rochester Americans v Laval Rocket at Place Bell on October 20, 2023 in Laval, QC, Canada. (Photo by Arianne Bergeron / Arena du Rocket Inc.)

But the Beauceron’s quest for success wasn’t over yet. On Saturday, in the Rocket’s first road game of the campaign, he set up two of his team’s goals. Laval fell 5-4 to the Belleville Senators, but again showed character to come from behind.

At the end of the game, Roy was able to move into first place among AHL scorers. His five goals and six assists in five games put him in first place.

“I wouldn’t have thought it was possible [to be the league top scorer] before the season started. Jean-François put me in a good position to succeed,” said Roy after his first professional hat trick.

A week full of firsts!

On the individual front, several players have opened their account in recent days.

First, goalkeeper Strauss Mann scored his first career goal on Wednesday to get his team-mates back on track. While the officials were waiting to call a penalty against Laval in the first period, the goalie blocked a shot with his stick. The puck then slid into the opposing net, leaving no doubt as to the identity of the scorer.

“It was pretty crazy, that’s for sure. Afterwards, I was in a state of shock. I didn’t really know what to think. We were still trailing by two goals and I had to regain my concentration level quickly,” he recounted after the game.

Then on Friday, his counterpart Jakub Dobeš turned aside 35 shots to score his first professional victory. He was imperious in the first period, standing up to several of the visitors scoring chances.

“He’s a young goalkeeper. He’s going to have his ups and downs, and he needs to learn to control that. Tonight, after the second goal, things could have gotten out of hand, but he made a key save that kept us in the game. It was a very important save for us,” remarked Houle of the 22-year-old Czech goalkeeper.

Finally, on Saturday, Logan Mailloux was rewarded for his efforts. The defenceman has taken several shots in recent games and was able to get off the mark in Belleville. Thanks to a precise shot in the top corner, he scored his first professional goal and, incidentally, his first point in the AHL.

The team will be back in Laval for training before hitting the road to face Rochester on Friday and then the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday. The Rocket will be back in action on Wednesday, November 1st, when the Utica Comets visit Place Bell.

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