The Rocket loses 3-2 against the Crunch

(Laval) Gabriel Fortier played the hero in overtime and the Syracuse Crunch defeated the Laval Rocket 3-2 on Wednesday evening at Place Bell.

Following an attack from the Rocket, Sean Day orchestrated a two-on-one climb and put the puck back in the direction of Fortier. The latter redirected it with the backhand into the top of the net and behind Jakub Dobes.

The Crunch (32-17-5) moved to within three points of the top of the North section standings thanks to this fourth victory in a row.

Mitchell Stephens and Philippe Maillet threaded the needle for the Rocket (23-24-8), who suffered a third defeat in a row. Dobes finished the game with 31 saves.

Gage Goncalves scored the other two goals for the winners, which saw Matt Tomkins turn away 21 pucks.

The Rocket will return to action Friday night, when they host the Cleveland Monsters for a series of two duels in less than 24 hours.

Another difficult start

The Laval team hoped to have as good a first period as in Bridgeport, where they took 26 shots, but the pace was instead dictated by the Crunch.

The visitors gave the Rocket virtually nothing and spun into enemy territory on two power plays, but failed to take advantage. However, they opened the scoring before the end of the period.

Joe Carroll fought well behind the net and managed to steal the puck from Justin Barron. Alex Barré-Boulet recovered it and served a nice pass to Goncalves, who hit the target in the top corner.

The home team remained a little asleep in the first minutes of the second period and Tobie Bisson tried to wake them up. The defender applied a violent back check to Declan Carlile and received a five-minute penalty.

Despite a shot on the horizontal bar from Fortier and a missed opportunity from Gabriel Dumont, on the fly, it was the Rocket who was more insistent short of a man. Brandon Gignac, Jan Mysak and Nathan Légaré notably knocked on Tomkins’ door.

Laval’s penalty kill unit resisted the Crunch for five minutes and the momentum seemed to shift.

Installed next to his goalkeeper, Logan Mailloux joined Stephens 120 feet further to throw him on a breakaway. The veteran immediately fired a shot that beat Tomkins over the glove. Just over five minutes later, Jared Davidson’s work allowed Sean Farrell to recover the puck. His superb backhand pass found the blade of Maillet’s stick, which moved the strings on reception.

The Crunch returned to the locker room with a one-goal deficit, but it only took one minute in the third period to level the score. Goncalves accepted a pass from Jack Finley and deceived Dobes with a backhand shot that the Czech goalkeeper would no doubt have liked to see again.

In overtime, Farrell had a great chance in front of Tomkins, but his backhand shot missed the target. Fortier then closed the books.


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