THE ROCKET RING IN THE NEW YEAR WITH A 4-3 (SO) VICTORY OVER THE SENATORS
BELLEVILLE (December 31, 2019) – The Rocket ended the decade on a high note with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Senators – their first in four games against their North Division rivals this season – Tuesday afternoon at the CAA Arena in Belleville. Keith Kinkaid’s 27-save performance was punctuated by several key saves throughout the game.
With a goal and two assists, Jake Evans has posted impressive numbers in his past five outings with eight points (2 G, 6 A). The centreman leads the Rocket with 24 points (7 G, 17 A). Captain Xavier Ouellet registered his sixth goal of the season and is tied for first among league defencemen in powerplay goals (4). Charles Hudon netted his team’s third goal of the game and his 10th in his past nine outings. Joe Cox, who completed the first line alongside Hudon and Evans, registered two assists. All three Rocket tallies were scored on special teams, included one on Laval’s penalty kill.
First-star Josh Norris tallied two goals and one assist, good for eight points in four games (5 G, 3 A) against the Rocket this season.
Soon after Kinkaid made a spectacular pad save on Rudolfs Balcers in the opening period, Evans found himself on a two-on-one with Joe Cox and defeated netminder Joey Daccord with a backhand-to-forehand deke. It was the Rocket’s seventh shorthanded goal of the season, good for fifth in the AHL.
Ouellet sent a laser past Daccord on the powerplay to bring the Rocket’s lead to 2-0 in the middle frame. Evans and Cox earned assists on the goal. Charles Hudon connected for his 15th goal of the season, sniping a loose puck in the high slot to triple the Rocket’s lead near the start of the third period. The Senators responded with goals by Norris (2) and Logan Brown to overcome the three-goal deficit. Belleville pulled Daccord for two of those three goals. After a scoreless overtime, Dale Weise won the game for the Rocket in the shootout, defeating Daccord with a shot between the pads, while Kinkaid stopped Brown, Drake Batherson and Balcers.
“I think we had them in the first two periods, we were playing well. We obviously expected a pushback in the third. […] It was a great goal by [Weise] to finish it off in the shootout and a great save by Keith [Kinkaid],” said Kevin Lynch after the game.
LAV: Evans (Cox) | Ouellet (Evans, Cox) | Hudon (Evans)
BEL: Norris (Corrado, Murray) | Brown (Chlapik, Norris) | Norris (Brown, Carcone)
Unités spéciales/Special teams
LAV | AN/PP: 2/7 | IN/PK: 6/6
BEL | AN/PP: 0/6 | IN/PK: 5/7
LAV: Kinkaid (27/30) | BEL: Daccord (31/34)
Trois étoiles/Three stars
1. Norris – BEL 2. Evans – LAV 3. Kinkaid – LAV