(Laval) The Laval Rocket had the opportunity to show that they were of a better caliber than some weaker clubs in the American Hockey League and they proved it.
Lias Andersson scored two goals and the Rocket completed the sweep of the Manitoba Moose by winning 4-1, Saturday afternoon, at Place Bell.
After signing a 5-2 victory at the expense of the Moose on Friday, Laval residents could expect better opposition from one of the worst teams in the American League. However, they did not give him the opportunity to believe it.
The Montreal Canadiens’ farm club once again offered an almost flawless performance, during which all the players had their say.
“There have been a lot of positive things. I found that the two victories were team victories, mentioned head coach Jean-François Houle. We showed that we are capable of playing with a lead and that we can close the game as much as possible. »
This triumph allowed the Rocket (15-14-6) to go above the .500 mark for the first time this season. Few would have bet on that a few weeks ago, when the team had won just five of its 22 games.
” It feels good. I don’t think many people would have said we’d be over .500 by game 35 after the start we’ve had to the season. We are showing that we have good young people, that we are starting to play real hockey. You’d rather have momentum like that at this time and towards the end of the season than to start strong and end up going downhill,” expressed striker Philippe Maillet.
Andersson threaded the needle for a third consecutive game and he has collected seven points in his last four outings. The Swede struggled to find his rhythm after returning from injury, but has been playing much better of late.
“He works harder. It’s that simple, observed Houle. He skates, he is more involved and he wins battles. He’s a very good hockey player, but no matter who you are, you have to be involved and committed to play quality games. We watched videos with him and he got the message. I am very happy for him. »
Logan Mailloux and Emil Heineman, in an empty net, also scored for the Rocket, who also obtained at least one point in their last seven games (6-0-1). Kasimir Kaskisuo stopped 28 pucks and won his three starts since signing with the team in mid-December.
It was a first game with the Rocket for forward Filip Cederqvist, who was acquired from the Rochester Americans on Thursday. He also showed great things in the back of the zone and along the boards, while he was paired with Gabriel Bourque and Lucas Condotta.
“The atmosphere here is incredible. There’s a lot of energy in this locker room, that’s the first thing I noticed. I want to bring energy and be strong with the puck in the back of the zone. I think it’s my best skill. I want to apply a good forecheck and get pucks to the net,” Cederqvist said.
Kristian Reichel scored the only goal for the Moose (12-20-0), who suffered a seventh defeat in a row. Collin Delia allowed three goals on 34 shots.
The Rocket will enjoy a few days of rest before returning to action at home next Friday, against the Belleville Senators.
Unlike the duel the day before, the start of the match for the two teams was more methodical and less disheveled. Kaskisuo closed the door on the Moose in the first minutes and the Rocket tried to establish his rhythm at the back of the zone.
The Winnipeg Jets farm club would have liked to slow down the Laval team, but top prospect Brad Lambert opened the door due to a high-sticking penalty.
Well established in enemy territory, the Rocket began to weave its web. Moose defenseman Ashton Sautner partially intercepted a pass from Heineman, but Brandon Gignac recovered the disc and handed it to Andersson, who only had to complete the set-up in a free cage.
It was a third consecutive game with at least one power play goal for Jean-François Houle’s squad.
Before the end of the first period, she did not need an extra player to double her lead. After Xavier Simoneau and Maillet missed a scoring opportunity near Delia’s net, Mailloux put an end to this chaotic sequence by moving the strings for a second game in a row.
Already on his way, the Rocket increased the pace to dominate the second engagement thanks to his speed and hard work. He was rewarded with another goal with less than four minutes remaining.
Coming down to the point, Simoneau saw his shot miss the target and bounce behind the net. Andersson, however, was quick to grab the puck and successfully complete the spin.
The Rocket was somewhat undisciplined in the first minutes of the final third and he managed to get away with it, but by playing with fire, he got burned. A long shot from Reichel made its way behind Kaskisuo to deny him a shutout.
In addition to this Moose goal, the highlight of this third period was undoubtedly Tobie Bisson’s impactful check against Lambert. The young striker headed to the locker room and did not return to the game.