LAVAL (December 21, 2018) – Cale Fleury’s second goal of the season lifted the Laval Rocket 2-1 over the Marlies Friday evening at Place Bell during the first edition of the themed Toronto Marlies Unappreciation Night. Byron Froese picked up two assists in the win and Michael McCarron extended his point streak to three games.
The Rocket appeared to have an edge over the divisional rival Marlies in the opening period not only in shots on goal, but also in scoring chances. Offensively, Lukas Vejdemo had a breakaway in the game’s first five minutes that was stopped by Toronto’s Eamon McAdam, and Hunter Shinkaruk came close to beating the Toronto netminder with a shot he rung off the post. Despite these chances, the score remained locked at zero at the end of the period due largely in part to the defensive efforts of Joël Bouchard’s troops who killed off a Toronto powerplay, and due to Alex Belzile who dove at the last second to break up a dangerous Toronto two-on-one near the end of the period.
A lucky goal allowed the Marlies to get on the board in the second period as the puck took a few bounces after being shot from the blue line and surprised Michael McNiven, who made 26 saves and was the first star in the win. The Rocket brought the game back to square one by period’s end however as Michael McCarron opened the score for the Rocket by deflecting Xavier Ouellet’s shot on net while on the powerplay to make it 1-1.
The game-winning goal came a little less than halfway through the third when Daniel Audette sent the puck hard along the ice and off the left pad of McAdam, making it perfectly placed for Cale Fleury to net his second of the season in his second game back from injury by putting it up high and out of the Toronto netminder’s reach.
“I think that our penalty kill was very good, as was our goal on the powerplay,” explained Bouchard after the game. “For me that’s what makes the difference when compared to other games. I think we managed the game well, and we played the six-on-five [with Toronto’s net empty] like we practiced.”
LAV: McCarron (Ouellet, Froese) |Fleury (Audette, Froese)
TOR: Greening (Leblanc, Carcone)
Goaltenders: LAV: McNiven (26/27) | TOR: McAdam (18/20)
Rocket Powerplay: 1/3| Rocket Penalty Kill: 4/4
Three Stars: 1. Michael McNiven – LAV | 2. Michael McCarron – LAV | 3. Byron Froese – LAV