LAVAL — The Laval Rocket took the lead in the series against Syracuse Crunch on Thursday, winning the third game of the confrontation 4-1.
Danick Martel, Cédric Paquette, Jean-Sébastien Dea and Louie Belpedio were the scorers of the win.
Cayden Primeau signed a second straight win with a performance of 22 saves.
Paquette makes the crunch pay in AN
The Rocket leads the series 2-1. Game number 4 takes place in Laval on Saturday.
Excitement was a danger that awaited protagonists of all stripes ahead of this first playoff game in the history of a Place Bell designed to be packed and noisy to perfection. That’s a bit of the trap The Crunch fell into right at the start of the first period. After an exemplary initial presence from the trio, deflected by Gabriel Dumont, Gabriel Fortier slowed down the visitors’ momentum with a penalty in the offensive zone.
This misconduct was life-saving for the Rocket, who took the opportunity to breathe through his nose and take the lead in the same breath. On the power play, Danick Martel inherited a long cross pass from Sami Niku and made it work with a solid one-timer shot.
“You remember me?” Crunch coach Benoît Groulx might have wanted to blow the top scorer, who had insisted before the start of the series that he was “unfamiliar with anyone on the other side,” even if he met Martel two years ago have led.
So the way forward was mapped out for the Rocket. If there is indiscipline in the opposing camp, drive the point home until nothing sticks out.
The opportunities were there. The Crunch received three more minor penalties before the end of the first period. Martel hit the post, as did Jean-Sébastien Dea. It just wouldn’t fit.
The inevitable happened. Early in the second period, a pass from Darren Raddysh out of nowhere sent Remi Elie to a partial breakaway. The Franco-Ontarian didn’t break his bike and opted for a slap shot that found the flaw in Primeau’s technique.
For the residents of Laval, there is no reason to panic at this time. At halftime of the game he had allowed just eight shots on target to their goalkeepers. But the lack of opportunism continued to slow them down in the second half of the game, so much so that we began to fear it would prove to be the rope they would hang themselves from.
At the end of the middle section, a penalty against “Mr. Crunch”, Daniel Walcott, without consequences. At the top of the third, a second try by Martel led to another five-man charge that was unsuccessful.
With 13 minutes to go, misfortune took a different form when Xavier Ouellet conceded a tentative pass from Cédric Paquette in goalkeeper Maxime Lagacé’s semi-circle. But the crowd favorites stayed cool.
In their seventh overtime game, they finally scored the winning goal when Paquet deflected a shot from Dea into the ropes.
Dea, one of his best in this historic match, and Belpedio completed in an empty net.
Martel begins hostilities in Game 3