THE ROCKET DROPPED A CLOSE 2-1 (OT) CONTEST AGAINST THE HARTFORD WOLF PACK
HARTFORD (October 25, 2019) – In their second road game of three, the Laval Rocket visited the Hartford Wolf Pack, the New York Rangers affiliate, at the XL Center Friday night. A close game from start to finish, the Rocket put in a strong effort and led for most of the tilt but lacked opportunism in the end, losing 2-1 in overtime. Charlie Lindgren was excellent between the pipes, making 19 saves.
Special teams were on display in this tightly contested, opening frame. The Rocket, who rank fifth in the league on the powerplay, earned two man-advantages but couldn’t find the back of the net. Ryan Poehling had a great chance but hit the post. The Wolf Pack also had two opportunities on the powerplay but Laval’s first-ranked penalty kill stifled their offense. Facing only six shots, Charlie Lindgren was sound in net and robbed Steven Fogarty with a spectacular pad save off a shot from the slot. After 20 minutes of play, the game remained scoreless.
Near the halfway mark of the second period, Poehling picked up his third goal of the season after deflecting Phil Varone’s shot from the point. Varone and Belzile earned helpers on the tally. On the other end of the ice, the Wolf Pack were hungry to tie the game, but Lindgren continued to shut the door and made another great save, this time flashing the leather on Boo Nieves. With thirty seconds remaining in the period, the Rocket swarmed the Wolf Pack’s territory, leading to a great scoring chance for Charles Hudon. The left-winger found himself alone in front of Igor Shesterkin after picking up a loose puck in the left faceoff circle but the Russian netminder stopped his backhand shot. Leading 1-0 after 40 minutes, the Rocket outshot their opponents 8- 7 in the second period.
The Rocket continued their strong forecheck, drawing two more powerplays and generating scoring chances but the away team lacked opportunism. Early in the frame, Lukas Vejdemo freed himself from four Hartford players to find himself alone in front of Shesterkin but missed the side of the net. Desperate to get on the scoresheet, the home team upped the tempo in the offensive zone and gained momentum after being blanked on two powerplay attempts late in the period. Despite solid goaltending from Lindgren and the Rocket’s defensemen making key blocks, Hartford’s Nick Ebert tied the game with 1:37 left in the contest, forcing overtime.
In extra-time, the Rocket were down a player as Josh Brook was sent to the penalty box. Despite killing the penalty and earning a two-on-one chance in Hartford’s zone, the Wolf Pack had the final word when Danny O’Regan scored the game-winning goal.
“We did a lot of things right for 60 minutes, but they scored late. Losing in overtime sucks but we got a point. […] I think we’re building and we’re starting to play a lot better. Now we just […] need to start stringing together some wins,” said Lindgren after the game.
“The effort was really good. For me, this was probably our team’s best effort of the year to date. We played against a good hockey team that has a lot of confidence and won games, but I found that the guys played with intensity and paid attention to details. […] I really loved the guys’ effort [tonight],” said head coach Joël Bouchard.
LAV: Poehling (Varone, Belzile)
HFD: Ebert (Keane) | O’Regan (Nieves)
LAV: Lindgren (19/21) |HFD: Shesterkin (18/19)
1. O’Regan – HFD 2. Ebert – HFD 3. Poehling – LAV