MONTRÉAL – The Laval Rocket and Toronto Marlies met up Sunday for the second time this weekend in a rematch of Friday night’s game in Toronto. It took a shootout to decide the tilt, but the Rocket came up with the win on home ice.
The Rocket and the Marlies faced off following Toronto’s 4-3 win on Friday night, this time back in the Bell Centre. The physicality and aggressiveness fans have come to expect from Canadian teams this season was on full display as both teams pushed back and forth, looking to draw first blood. It was Laval who found the back of the net first, however. Yannick Veilleux finished a play by Lukas Vejdemo and Alex Belzile to break the scoreless tie three-and-a-half minutes into the game, giving the Rocket the early lead. Both teams retreated to center ice, and the home team pressed on, ringing iron a couple of times as the visitors tightened up their defense.
Play continued as the Rocket seemed to gain the upper-hand on the Marlies, peppering goaltender Andrew D’Agostini with as many shots as they could manage. Laval was awarded the first power play of the evening late in the period when Joey Anderson took a tripping minor. Ryan Poehling capitalized on the man advantage – assisted by Cale Fleury and Joseph Blandisi – when he scored a goal on a lucky ricochet.
The Rocket held a 2-0 lead going into the first intermission.
Une très bonne première période pour le Rocket de retour au Centre Bell!
That was a nice way to come back to the Bell Centre. #GoRocket pic.twitter.com/BuVNKq1NJg
— Rocket de Laval (@RocketLaval) March 14, 2021
Back to start the middle frame, the energy from both teams was still high. Toronto switched goalies – Angus Redmond replacing D’Agostini. Two minutes in, the Marlies were once again penalized on a high-sticking call against Joseph Duszak. They killed the penalty and resumed even-strength play until Rocket rookie Jan Mysak recovered a turnover. Mysak broke into the offensive zone and let off a wrister that beat D’Agostini to extend the Rocket lead.
Shortly after Mysak’s goal, the Rocket took their first penalty when Josh Brook was sent off for holding. The Marlies lit the lamp for the first time on the resulting power play when Alex Galchenyuk took a shot that produced a juicy rebound. Alexander Barabanov caught the rebound and buried it behind a resetting Michael McNiven.
The Rocket took the next two penalties as well – one for interference and one for holding – both of them assessed to Belzile. Laval killed the first penalty, an interference call, but the second penalty carried over into the third period as Toronto could not capitalize a man up in the closing minute of the period.
The buzzer sounded on the third period with the Rocket still holding the lead, 3-1.
Le double de leurs tirs et le triple de leurs buts, on aime ça!
We have the double of their shot total and the triple of their goal. We like that! #GoRocket pic.twitter.com/kXbKWvuog2
— Rocket de Laval (@RocketLaval) March 15, 2021
The Marlies picked up where they left off on the power play to begin the game’s final stretch. The Rocket held them off and killed the penalty, but the Marlies met the Rocket lead with a more aggressive playstyle. Through the first half of the period, Toronto laid on more pressure and looked to get back into the game. Nic Petan netted a feed from Teemu Kivihalme to pull the Marlies back within one goal. Just over a minute later, Kalle Kossila was sent to the box for interference. Veilleux found a way to light the lamp for the second time with some help from Jordan Weal and Otto Leskinen.
Corey Schueneman took one final penalty for delay of game. The Marlies were once again unable to capitalize on their chances. Mac Hollowell (with assists from Galchenyuk and Tyler Gaudet) shortened the Rocket lead back to one. Toronto opted to pull the goalie for an extra attacker. Anderson left his mark on the game once more, this time teaming up with Barabanov to tie the game with a little less than a minute to go.
The Marlies rallied for three goals in the third period to force overtime, with the score square at 4-4.
Both sides worked hard for their chances 3-on-3, but the great looks they came up with stopped just shy of being the game-winner.
The game had to be decided in a shootout:
- Jesse Ylönen: Stopped
- Galchenyuk: Stopped
- Weal: Stopped
- Kossila: Stopped
- Belzile: Scored
- Petan: Stopped
Belzile scored the shootout winner, and an exciting game of hockey came to an end.
Ça a été un retour victorieux pour le Rocket au Centre Bell.
The Rocket's return to the Bell Centre was victorious. #GoRocket pic.twitter.com/FGJVa7jBCy
— Rocket de Laval (@RocketLaval) March 15, 2021
The Rocket may be a very young team still building their history, but tonight’s game proved that the rivalry with the Marlies that stems from the rivalry enjoyed by both teams’ parent clubs is alive and well with the farm teams.
The Rocket face off against the Belleville Senators on Monday, March 15 (5 pm EDT) at home.
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