LAVAL, QC – The Laval Rocket hosted the Texas Stars Wednesday and Friday in two nearly identical games. They were mirror images of one another.
Two games, two winners, two overtime thrillers, one score. The Stars and the Rocket took the ice at Place Bell, having never played a game against each other. Wednesday was just another night of hockey, while Friday was Country Night in honor of the Stars’ visit.
THE BRIEF OVERVIEW
Wednesday, the visiting Stars shot out of the gate, took an early lead, and controlled the game’s pace to start. The Rocket answered with their own goal before the buzzer to pull even at one. The Stars scored two goals in the second period and held the Rocket off, and in the third, the tables turned, and Laval scored two to send the game to overtime. Texas didn’t need long in the bonus period and sent the puck into the back of the net to call game in less than a minute.
— Rocket de Laval (@RocketLaval) December 2, 2021
On Friday, it was nearly the same story. Laval scored first, and Texas spent the first chasing the game. The second and third were more of the same as the first – the Rocket scoring a goal to retake the lead and the Stars finding a way to pull back even. In the third, the Stars pulled the goalie for the extra attacker and forced overtime for the second game in a row. This time, it was Laval that walked away with the extra point.
Les gars ont été bons ce soir.
— Rocket de Laval (@RocketLaval) December 4, 2021
THE BRIEF BREAKDOWN
The scores being exact mirrors of one another isn’t the only thing that makes these games reflect one another. The goaltenders were the same. Adam Scheel and Cayden Primeau started both games for the Stars and the Rocket, respectively. The physicality and emotion from both sides also carried over between both games. Everything else was flipped along its y-axis.
Where the Stars dominated play and pushed the pace throughout the better part of the first two-and-a-half periods on Wednesday, the Rocket did on Friday. The Rocket were penalized more Wednesday, but the Stars were the more penalized team on Friday. Special teams were much more effective for both teams the second time around. And of course, there’s the way the score ended up being the same but switched around so that both teams tallied three out of four points.
For two teams that had previously never met, there was an undercurrent of hostility toward one another. After every whistle, whenever play halted in front of a goalie, or even off a false start on a faceoff, these two teams were ready to fight at the drop of a hat. Where that animosity came from, I couldn’t tell you, but the next time they meet, you can bet we’re in store for some more exciting hockey.
THE LOOK AHEAD
The Rocket are slated to take on the Toronto Marlies in Toronto on Sunday at 3 pm EST. Like every game against the Marlies, be on the lookout for the rivalry to keep going strong.
Josh Ho-Sang and Erik Källgren have proven difficult for the Rocket in their matchups this season. The Rocket were supposed to be without Laurent Dauphin, and Corey Schueneman for Sunday’s game – both were recalled to the Montreal Canadiens and were unavailable for Friday, as well. The Canadiens announced late Saturday afternoon that both players had been reassigned to the Rocket
L’attaquant Laurent Dauphin et le défenseur Corey Schueneman ont été cédés au Rocket de Laval dans l’AHL.
Forward Laurent Dauphin and defenseman Corey Schueneman have been reassigned to the AHL's Laval Rocket.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) December 4, 2021
The Rocket took both of the previous two games against the Marlies this season and, based on the way they played Friday, have remembered how to play cohesive hockey. They’re not out of the thick of the problems they’ve been facing, as more players are recalled to fill holes on the Habs roster, and players that have been playing with the Trois-Rivieres Lions in the ECHL plug the spots left by those recalls. They know how to play as a connected and consistent unit, but the Marlies are going to put that to work and test its limits.
- Record: 9-5-1-1
- Points leader: Joseph Duszak (14)
- Goals leader: Josh Ho-Sang (9)
- Goaltending leader: Erik Källgren (2.48 GAA, 0.924 SV%)
- Record: 8-9-2-0
- Points leader: Jesse Ylönen (13)
- Goals leader: Jean-Sebastien Dea (6)
- Goaltending leader: Kevin Poulin (2.00 GAA, 0.938 SV%)
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