THE ROCKET LEAVE UTICA WITH A 5-3 DEFEAT
UTICA (December 20, 2019) – In what seemed like an uneven matchup on paper based on the number of injuries sustained by the Rocket, a lack of discipline and the Comets’ opportunism were the difference makers in a high-tempo game that culminated with a 5-3 loss for Laval against the Vancouver Canucks’ affiliate at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, Friday night.
Michael McCarron logged a goal and an assist. Jake Evans and Otto Leskinen each earned a helper. The former leads the Rocket in assists with 13, while the latter is tied for second with 12. Ralph Cuddemi earned his first career points in the AHL with two helpers. Recalled by the Rocket on Thursday, Yannick Veilleux notched his first goal in the Rocket’s uniform since scoring two goals against Utica on Nov. 24, 2017.
Rookie defenseman Brogan Rafferty has registered five points in his past two outings, including a goal and two helpers against the Rocket. He ranks third in the AHL in assists with 23. The league’s points leader Reid Boucher (20 G, 16 A) registered a two-point night (2 A). Nikolay Goldobin tallied a goal and an assist.
Alexandre Alain scored the Rocket’s first goal of the game for a team-high fourth time this season. The tally came right after his team sustained pressure on the powerplay. The Rocket lead the
league in powerplay opportunities with 146 after tonight’s game. Leskinen and Cuddemi earned assists on the goal.
Alone in front of netminder Zane McIntyre, Veilleux gave Laval a 2-0 lead in the second frame. McCarron, who fed a perfect cross-crease pass from the goal line to Veilleux, and Cuddemi were credited with helpers. The Comets climbed their way back into the game. Kole Lind cut the Rocket’s lead by one, recording his third point (2 G, 1 A) in his last two games. Justin Bailey scored the game-tying goal and his 10th tally of the season.
Rafferty notched the home team’s third goal of the night, this one off the Comets’ powerplay. The Rocket took advantage of a 5-on-3 near the halfway mark of the third period when McCarron tipped in Josh Brook’s shot from inside the blue line to tie the game. Brook and Evans were credited with helpers. The Rocket’s lack of discipline gave Sven Baertschi the chance to restore Utica’s lead and allowed Nikolay Goldobin to score the insurance marker to lead the Comets to victory.
“We came out strong and had our chances. Penalties really hurt us, but we need to grow as a team […] The effort was there, but this was definitely a frustrating loss given the way we played tonight,” said Alain after the game.
LAV: Alain (Leskinen, Cuddemi) | Veilleux (McCarron, Cuddemi) | McCarron (Brook, Evans)
UTI: Lind (Rafferty) | Bailey (Boucher, Sautner) | Rafferty (Brisebois, Camper) | Baertschi (Goldobin, Rafferty) | Goldobin (Boucher)
Unités spéciales/Special teams
LAV | AN/PP: 1/5 | IN/PK: 5/8
UTI | AN/PP: 3/8 | IN/PK: 4/5
LAV: Primeau (19/24) | UTI: McIntyre (23/26)
Trois étoiles/Three stars
1. Rafferty – UTI 2. Baertschi – UTI 3. Malone – UTI