Rocket @ Crunch Game 5 summary and highlight: Laval takes advantage of an extra goal by Gabriel Bourke

Rocket @ Crunch Game 5 summary and highlight: Laval takes advantage of an extra goal by Gabriel Bourke

After losing the closing in Game 4 on the home snowboard at Laval, the Rockets faced a real situation in Syracuse for Game 5. They had to handle the crucial game without the services of Nate Schnarr, who was the first game-time decision and was deemed unable to make the starting lineup.

With Schnard out, J.-F. Houle chose to align 11 strikers and seven men again. Peter Abandonato sprinted as pole position three, while Kevin Roy replaced Devante Smith-Billy as provisional fourth alongside Joel Tisdale. For Crunch, it was surprising Maxime Lagace to start in the net, despite suffering what appeared to be a serious injury in the previous game. In contrast, it was Kayden Primo again, as the prospective Habs look to make another strong start.

The first period was quiet, with neither side doing much to maintain control of the disc. Syracuse got an early advantage, then the Rocket started to fend it off on their own, yet neither side was able to find the net.

The Rocket had their best chance as they headed into the power game after Ryan Jones called out the super sticky Brandon Gignac. The power game went poorly as man’s advantage could go, as the missile not only failed to score, but succumbed to a short-range target in the process. Laval was trying to spin the disc along the point, but it was plowed and Anthony Richard fired, burying his fourth goal of the series in a breakout to open the scoring.

Rocket wasn’t able to chart the level in the last seconds of his advantage, and with the game going into the first break, the team as a whole was looking for any sort of breakthrough.

The second period began with the Rocket adopting a more conservative approach to the attack zone, slowly moving around the disc as they searched for holes on the goal. They didn’t find much as Crunch continued to clamp down on the missile attack and suffocate him, even when Lagace was out of position on scramble chances.

Even with a stronger effort to start the period, it was the crunch that added to the scoreboard. After Laval failed to capitalize on several individual chances deep in the Syracuse area, Cranach ran the other way and Ryan Jones saw his shot bounce off a missile defender and Premio to put him two goals behind.

With the game and series slowly slipping out of their grasp, the Rocket is back in play after Brandon Gignac’s speed puts out a call that goes off in a one-on-one rush. While the upper power running unit was unable to generate any feedback attack, the second unit was finally able to reach the board. Sami Nico sent a pass along the Blue Line to Louie Belpedio, and the rocket defender fired a shot into the net. Alex Belzile advanced in front of Lagace, turning the ball over to make it 2-1.

Belzel’s goal seemed to reinvigorate the Rocket’s attack as they shot chances on the net, but Maxime Lajas was not given any second chances. Even as Laval defended, Crunch responded effectively, forcing Primo to make a number of big saves to keep the deficit at just one goal.

It was thanks to Primeau that the Rocket was within walking distance as the game entered the second intermission, setting up a whopping 20 final minutes.

With their entire season on the line, Rocket came out strong to start the third period, the top streak finally showing some signs of life as Jesse Yleonen tested Lagats a few times, but Crunch’s goalkeeper was up to the task as well.

Ylönen continued to be a thorn in Crunch’s side, making a foul pass and firing several chances at Lagace from close range, but once again goalkeeper Crunch was there to thwart the Rocket attack. After a dash behind the net after Gabriel Burke’s dash, the match turned into a four against four, opening up more ice for Laval’s offense.

Crunch tried to take advantage of space first, as Alex Barré-Boulet dangled around the defense to create an opportunity, but a sprawling cover by Primeau denied attacking Syracuse for what appeared to be a sure target. Primo’s save put some juice back into the Rocket’s legs as they created more chances on goal, but once again Lagas refused to budge under heavy pressure.

With the situation despondent, the Rocket pulled Primo past the ice, and with 84 seconds remaining he had one last chance to try to keep his thrust going in the playoff. Somehow, despite the amazing efforts of the rival Grid Ranger, the Rocket found one last piece of magic. Lagace made an amazing save at J.-S. Dia in front of goal, but Cedric Paquette stopped a shot from behind the goal to equalize the match and impose extra time in the decisive match.

With the start of the additional period, the rocket was still firmly attached to the gas. The Crunch could only generate solo chances, while Rocket held the area for extended periods of time. However, one of these Crunch chances forced Danic Martell to take a penalty, giving Crunch extra playing power.

Primo maintained his impressive performance as Charles Haddon denied three times as the penalty kick ended to deny the former Rocket star the series-winning goal. After that, Martel compensated for a penalty deep into the Crunch area.

The fast winger jumped over the goal and spun around the net, firing a shot from Lagats that bounced off. Gabriel Burke stepped into a shot and tore it home, sending the Rocket into the second round of the playoffs.

Match 5: Final score: Laval 3, Syracuse 2 (overtime)
3-2 rocket win streak

It was a stunning return for the Rocket, who appeared to be dead in the water before performing one last magic trick to secure the Montreal AHL’s win in the series since 2011. The club is now awaiting the winner of the hotly contested Rochester-Utica Series. Which also went to the final fifth game. The next round will start on Sunday.

2022-05-18 10:00:00

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