The Rocket return home for the next couple of weeks after a quick road trip to Ontario over the weekend. The Belleville Senators visit Place Bell on Wednesday, December 12 (91,9 Sports, RDS) followed by back-to-back games against the Syracuse Crunch on Friday, December 14 (91,9 Sports, TSN 690) and Saturday, December 15 (91,9 Sports).
Laval enters the week on a high after a roller coaster weekend. Joël Bouchard’s players couldn’t find their groove in Belleville on Friday, December 7, dropping that game by a score of 7-2, before heading to Toronto to face the Marlies on Saturday, December 8. The Rocket held a 3-2 lead going into the final frame thanks to goals from Alex Belzile, Jake Evans and Byron Froese, but a late goal by Toronto forced overtime and gave the home team a head of steam entering the extra frame. The Rocket would not let this one slip away, however, as newcomer Simon Després scored his first goal in just his second game with the club to secure the two points.
The Rocket will look to build on the momentum from that win and channel it into what is shaping up to be an important week. Laval enters the week with a record of 9-14-2-1, but three-straight division battles offer an opportunity to gain some ground in the tight North Division, where only six points separate Laval and the third-placed Crunch. The Rocket head into the upcoming home stand with a 5-6-1-1 record at Place Bell.
Before getting a chance to gain ground on Syracuse, Laval will look to avenge this weekend’s defeat to Belleville. The Senators enter the week sitting fourth in the division with a record of 12-12-1-0. Belleville has won its last two contests and currently have the upper hand in the season series with Laval, having won two of the three battles between the rivals so far this season. The teams split their first two meetings of the season, both at Place Bell, with both games ending in 2-1 scores.
Syracuse rumbles into Place Bell for two massive games on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Friday night’s game is Toques giveaway night – presented by Sportium, where a limited number of toques will be offered to the first 3,000 fans to enter the arena. The Arcade Game (December 15) will make its debut with multiple arcade and video games installed throughout the concourse to bring back a bit of nostalgia. A multitude of surprises await gamers of all ages.
Syracuse enters the week with a record of 13-6-2-0 and has won 8 of its last 10 games. The Rocket lost the first matchup by a score of 6-4 in Syracuse back in November, and will look to take advantage of home ice this week to re-establish itself in the Eastern Conference.
Laval’s next six games are against North Division opponents – five of those at Place Bell – marking an important stretch in the schedule to wrap up 2018.
|Buts / Goals||Byron Froese (9)|
|Aides / Assists||Alex Belzile (16)|
|Points||Alex Belzile (20)|
|Tirs / Shots||Alex Belzile (68)|
|MBA / GAA||Charlie Lindgren (2.56)|
|%ARR / SVS%||Charlie Lindgren (.891)|
|1. Jake Evans continues to impress in his first professional season, and has climbed into the Top 20 in rookie scoring with 17 points, good for 13th overall…
|1. Jack Rodewald currently leads the Senators with 20 points in 21 games (8 goals, 12 assists)…
|1. Syracuse boasts two of the AHL’s top ten scorers – Cory Conacher ranks 3rd (28 points) while Carter Verhaeghe ranks 9th (26 points). Verhaeghe also leads the league in power-play points (15)…
|2. The Rocket have been able to generate offence even while down man, having scored 5 shorthanded goals already this season, putting them in a tie for 3rd overall in that category…
|2. Acquired in the Erik Karlsson trade, Rudolfs Balcers has had a strong first season in Belleville – Laval will look to contain him after he recorded four points in last week’s matchup…
|2. Goaltender Connor Ingram has been impressive backstopping the Crunch, ranking 1st in shutouts (4) and 6th in the AHL in goals against average (2.44 GAA)…
|3. Laval has consistently limited the shots against all season long, and continue to lead the AHL with an average of just 22.77 shots against per game…||3. The Senators have been effective on the power play, ranking 10th overall (21.1%)…||3. Montmagny, QC native Alex Barré-Boulet has shone in his first year in the professional ranks, piling up 21 points, 2nd among all rookies…