The Laval Rockets’ winning streak was snapped at three after a 3-2 loss to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Friday.
The end of the game was a bit chaotic after the contact with the Laval goalkeeper, Jakub Dobes. Dobes intercepted the puck behind his own net, and Rhett Gardner raced toward it, hooking him with his left shoulder and knocking him onto his back.
Obviously a scramble broke out and the Rocket ended the game with a 5-minute power play with 3:38 left.
Brandon Gignac took advantage of the opportunity to cut the lead to 3-1 by finishing off Sean Farrell and Joshua Roy, followed by Riley Kidney’s first professional goal with 5.8 seconds left, but time expired. Dobes blocked 29 shots.
“We had a numerical advantage and we managed to use it twice, but it was a little too late”, Gignac first reacted.
“Five games in seven days, it’s extremely hard on the body and we lost two guys in the first period, so that hurt our energy level, that’s for sure,” he said, talking about relaxing in the second period.
The organization actually announced in the second period that Mitchell Stephens (lower part of the body) and Philippe Maillet (upper part of the body) would not be able to finish the match, and therefore they would have to work with 10 attackers.
In Stephens’ case, he was hit hard by Rhett Gardner who entered territory in the first period. His right leg seemed to take the blow. He walked with difficulty down the corridor leading to the dressing room.
After a slow start to the season, the Rocket picked up valuable points to get back into contention despite a busy week. That will continue tomorrow with the third game in three nights, against the Utica Comets.
“We’re starting to connect. We had a new team, no one really knew each other, now a great chemistry begins between us. It’s getting better,” added Gignac, assuring that the club will give 100 percent on Saturday as well.
Lack of opportunism
The Rocket played a good first period despite failing to capitalize on their three power play chances. He dominated 11-4 in shots, but opposing goaltender Cal Petersen was solid.
The Rockets’ lack of opportunism eventually caught up with them.
A bit of luck came in handy for the Phantoms. Tanner Laczynski’s shot bounced off the skate of William Trudeau and the puck ended up behind goaltender Jakub Dobes.
Laczynski also contributed to his team’s second goal in the third period. His shot was initially blocked by Dobes, but Olle Lycksell pounced on the rebound to score his ninth goal of the season by sliding the puck under his left sub.
Lycksell also scored into an empty net.
Friday’s game was the Rocket’s last in front of their fans until December 6th. Meanwhile, the farm club will play six straight games on the road, a streak that will begin Saturday night against the Comets.
This match should mark the return of defender Jayden Struble, who missed the last three games due to suspension.