MONTREAL – The Laval Rocket played host to the Belleville Senators one last time this season on Friday night. The visiting Senators held on against a late surge by the home squad to close out the season series against the Canadian Division champs with a win.
The final meeting of the season between the Rocket and the Senators went down where it all began – The Bell Centre. The Senators hit the ground running and pushed the pace of the play early, hemming the Rocket into the defensive zone for the better part of the first five minutes. Six minutes in, the Rocket managed to break out of their end and into the offensive zone. Jake Lucchini – assisted by Corey Schueneman and Liam Hawel – took advantage of a quick burst of speed and tucked the puck in behind Senators goalie Mads Sogaard. Less than a minute later, the visitors got one back when Colby Williams finished a pass from Cole Cassels that beat Rocket netminder Michael McNiven.
Tied at one-all, the game settled into a familiar back and forth between the zones. That is until Belleville was given the first chance at the power play. Laval’s Brandon Baddock was assessed both an interference minor and a holding minor. Belleville’s Curtis Douglas was handed an unsportsmanlike conduct minor for his reaction to Baddock’s hit. Baddock and Douglas retreated to the penalty box – along with Hawel, who served the two minutes for interference – and the Senators set off in search of a lead. The penalty killers emerged victoriously, but Belleville got another chance soon after Cameron Hillis was sent off for hooking.
This time the power play came up tops, and Egor Sokolov buried a pass from Logan Brown to pull ahead with less than a minute to play in the period. The buzzer sounded to close out the first, and the Senators took a one-goal lead down the tunnel.
C'est seulement la 4e fois cette saison que le Rocket tire de l'arrière après 20 minutes. On a une fiche de 2-0-1 dans cette situation.
— Rocket de Laval (@RocketLaval) May 7, 2021
The second opened with the same back and forth action as the first. The Rocket took the first penalty of the period when Josh Brook was given two minutes to think about tripping. The Rocket managed to hold the power play at bay. Shortly after Brook returned, four more penalties were assessed. Baddock and Joseph LaBate had a scrap and camped out for five each. Lukas Vejdemo and Jack Dougherty spent the entire Baddock/ LaBate fight trying to fight each other. They were both sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct. All four infractions were served without a scoring change.
In the second half of the period, however, the Senators found the scoreboard twice more to further extend their lead to three goals. Jean-Christophe Beaudin finished a play from Douglas and Cassels to make it 3-1. Brown added an unassisted tally at 19:34 to up the Senators’ lead to three goals. The second period ended with the visitors holding the lead.
C'est juste la cinquième fois cette saison que le Rocket tire de l'arrière après 40 minutes de jeu.
— Rocket de Laval (@RocketLaval) May 8, 2021
The third period was just as eventful as the one before. Just shy of the five-minute mark, Lucchini – with helpers from Brook and Gustav Olofsson – potted another one in a bid to eke out a comeback. Laval took their shot at a power play on a hooking call but came up short with the man advantage. Laurent Dauphin took a slashing minor that gave Belleville another chance at extending their lead a man up, to no avail. Nearing the three-quarters mark of the period, Terrance Amorosa capitalized on a play from Dauphin and Otto Leskinen to register his first goal in the American Hockey League.
With the Rocket tenuously holding onto some building momentum, Lucchini thought he’d completed the hat trick and tied the game, only for the official to rule the goal no good. Lucchini took exception with the ruling, but the lack of instant replay in the arena meant that the official’s call stood. The period closed out with three more penalties.
Brown was called for hooking at 18:40. The Rocket pulled McNiven to play 6-on-4 and try to find the equalizer. A minute after the penalty to Brown, Cassels and Brook saw the inside of the box once more to wait out the remaining seconds of the game. The equalizer never came, and the Senators met the buzzer with the lead to finish out their season against the Rocket.
Jake Lucchini a failli compléter le tour du chapeau et égaler la marque. Avec ce résultat, le Rocket va finir la saison 8-3 contre les Sénateurs.
— Rocket de Laval (@RocketLaval) May 8, 2021
The Rocket will close out the season against the Marlies. The next game is Tuesday, May 11, at 7 pm EDT when the Rocket visit the Marlies at the Coca-Cola Coliseum.