The Crunch ends the Rocket’s five-game winning streak

(Syracuse) The difference between victory and defeat can sometimes be very small. Small like a hockey puck.

A gift from Jakub Dobes to Sean Day somehow allowed the Syracuse Crunch to defeat the Laval Rocket 4-2 on Friday night at the Upstate Medical University Arena.

The Crunch (23-12-4) already led 2-1 at the start of the second period when Day scored the eventual winning goal from a tight angle. The defender managed to slip the puck inside a small opening between Dobes’ left pad and mitt.

“He plays big hockey and he’s kept us in the game a few times lately. It’s going to happen to get a goal like that, but I’m sure he would like to get it again,” said head coach Jean-François Houle.

Dobes and the Rocket (18-15-6) were doing very well these days, but this setback ended two streaks for Laval. They were looking to tie a team record with a sixth straight victory and saw their 10-game unbeaten streak in regulation (9-0-1) end, dating back to December 28.

The Rocket was also trying to get within four points of the Crunch and second place in the North section of the American Hockey League.

“We could have won, but it’s a reminder that we can’t cheat in this league. We have to do the right things during all matches. We come back to action tomorrow (at Rochester) and we have to do what we can bring,” observed forward Emil Heineman.

Philippe Maillet had another good performance, after seeing his streak of games with at least one point slowed to nine on Wednesday evening. The 31-year-old veteran collected a goal and an assist.

“We try to create things every time we step on the ice,” said Maillet, who plays with Xavier Simoneau and Lias Andersson. Today, the puck went into the net, but I think it’s more a question of providing momentum for the other lines as well by keeping the puck in the offensive territory. »

William Trudeau also scored in a losing cause while Simoneau obtained two assists. Dobes gave up three times in 25 shots.

Joshua Roy played his first game in the American League after a short, notable stint with the Canadian. At the end of the third period, while his team was playing with a sixth skater, the young attacker was notably frustrated by goaltender Hugo Alnefelt.

“He made some good plays. It should be a good trio with (Brandon) Gignac and Heineman. They had a few chances and we’re going to give them some time to find some chemistry,” Houle said.

Before Day, Quebecers Félix Robert and Gabriel Fortier had threaded the needle for the Crunch, who had lost their last three duels against the Rocket. Cole Koepke completed the scoring in an empty net.

Alnefelt stopped 29 of 31 pucks aimed his way to record his eighth victory this season.

The Rocket will return to action on Saturday evening, visiting the Americans.

Some costly mistakes

The Rocket didn’t seem quite ready to start this clash and the Crunch took advantage after less than two minutes of play.

During a surplus, Jack Thompson and Joe Carroll orchestrated a quick tic-tac-toe that ended with Robert’s one-timer. Dobes did not have time to move to the left to block the Quebecer’s shot.

The visitors had a chance to tie the game a few minutes later, but Mitchell Stephens’ shot from the right flank hit the post to Alnefelt’s right.

The Crunch was more opportunistic during its counterattacks. While defenseman Justin Barron was caught deep in enemy territory, Fortier came quickly from the right side and surprised Dobes with a wrist shot over the glove.

Jean-François Houle’s squad kept their cool and continued to work at the back of the zone. Maillet managed to get the puck out before slipping it to Simoneau, who made a superb lift pass to set up Trudeau’s fifth goal of the campaign.

One would have thought that this goal would launch the Rocket, but the Crunch regained a two-goal priority at 1:57 of the second period, thanks to Day.

The Tampa Bay Lightning farm club, however, was caught slowing down and falling back too much in the final minutes of the period. The Laval residents also found a way to reduce the gap, with only 48 seconds remaining.

Logan Mailloux’s offensive support caused problems for the Crunch defenders and the puck was pushed by Simoneau onto the blade of Maillet’s stick. His throw then hit Day’s stick before spinning behind Alnefelt.

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