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In town to face the Cleveland Monsters, the Laval Rocket soared to a 5-2 win thanks to a great team effort from top to bottom at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse arena on Thursday night.
Forwards Yannick Veilleux (2 G, 1 A), Nikita Jevpalovs (2 A), Jesperi Kotkaniemi (1 G, 1 A) and defenseman Gustav Olofsson (2 A) enjoyed multi-point nights. Jevpalovs added to his point streak with seven (3 G, 4 A) in four outings in a row. Alexandre Alain (1 G) has registered five points (2 G, 3 A) in five consecutive games. After missing two games with the flu, Kotkaniemi picked up where he left off, notching his 12th helper in as many games and scoring his first goal in the AHL. Josh Brook played a solid game for the Rocket, posting a differential of +4.
Neither team found the back of the net in the first period, but the Rocket quickly changed that in the second stanza. Grabbing a loose puck from behind the net, Michael Pezzetta gave the visitors a 1-0 lead. With Veini Vehvilainen caught out of position, the second-year forward capitalized on a wide-open net, glove side. Alain notched his 11th of the season to double the Rocket’s lead. Olofsson sent a perfect pass from his own end through the neutral zone to reach a streaking Alain, who sniped it for the two-goal cushion. Soon after, the Rocket were up by three when Yannick Veilleux tallied his first goal of the night as Kotkaniemi set him up with a crisp pass through the slot.
The Monsters cranked it up a notch in the final frame, outshooting the Rocket 11 to 6. They got on the scoreboard thanks to a goal from Branden Troock with 20 seconds left in the middle stanza. Veilleux gladly restored the Rocket’s three-goal lead on the powerplay at the halfway mark of the final period. The home side cut the visitors’ lead to two once again nearly two minutes later with a powerplay marker from Sam Vigneault. Pulling their netminder for an extra attacker in the dying minutes, Kotkaniemi notched the empty netter to give the Rocket a 5-2 win.
“Collectively, we’re boxing out well, we’re collapsing well in the slot and getting a lot of help from out forwards backtracking,” said Olofsson about the team’s overall effort after the game.