American Ice Hockey League | The rocket has its back to the wall

(Laval) Devante Smith-Pelly has experience. Four years ago he won the Stanley Cup in a Washington Capitals uniform. This spring of 2018, the striker even found himself in an identical situation to the Rocket this spring: 2-3 in the semifinals.

Updated yesterday at 00:11

Guillaume Lefrançois

Guillaume Lefrançois
The press

The Capitals eventually won Games 6 and 7 against Tampa — back when the Lightning occasionally lost playoffs — and then beat Vegas in the Finals.

Here’s the Laval Rocket, trailing the Springfield Thunderbirds 3-2 after Saturday’s 3-2 loss at Bell Place. A goal by veteran James Neal, scored after 18:35 of first overtime, put an end to hostilities.

The Rocket now needs to win their next two games to continue the season. Both games will take place in Springfield on Monday and possibly Wednesday.

So, Smith-Pelly’s message to his teammates?

Just play. It’s fun… not to be late on a show, but to be back on a show. Our youngsters have been amazing throughout our trip and if I have one thing to say to them it’s to capitalize on it.

Devante Smith-Pelly

The Rocket was already in danger in this tournament. In the first round, he was 39 seconds from being eliminated by Syracuse Crunch when Cédric Paquette scored to force overtime. The Laval residents’ season could have ended on May 17; it lasts at least until June 13th.

“We’ve seen those moments before,” recalls Rocket head coach Jean-François Houle. We just have to show up and play hockey. We have no pressure. We have zero pressure. »

wear and tear

Are those beautiful words the equivalent of the cat knowing it’s sick but still purring to give itself the strength to move on? Leave the learned animal theories to others.

In real life, the rocket seems to give its opponents too many ways to get back into play. The CH school club took a 2-0 lead in that fifth game thanks to two goals from Rafaël Harvey-Pinard.

But the team doesn’t seem able to get rid of two recurring problems. The first is indiscipline. The team received seven penalties, including a double minor for Alex Belzile for doing it roughly. If that four-minute penalty can be defended – Belzile came to the defense of Cayden Primeau, who was visited by Dakota Joshua – the accumulation is hard for Houle to accept. Even if his penalty units remain perfect in this series.

“It’s way too much. We have to control our sticks, our emotions, the head coach thundered. We talk about it. But the downside does a great job of washing away penalties and keeping us in the game. I’m very proud of that. »

I don’t know if all penalties are deserved, but you have to find a way to avoid the penalty box.

Xavier Ouellet

The other problem is the allowed shots. Primeau may be a 22-year-old, but he’ll eventually give in to the volume. Hopeful CH have fired 133 shots in their last three games, averaging 44.3 per game. He had 32 or more shots in 11 of 12 games this spring.

“He’s definitely going to tire,” said Houle. morning [dimanche], he’s taking a nice little day off. »

On the other hand, the Rocket made a few mistakes that prevented it from finishing off the opponent. Midway through overtime, the team went into an overshoot, but Danick Martel went wide on shooting. Jean-Sébastien Dea could have played the hero again, as he had in overtime at Rochester, but Charlie Lindgren stopped him at the breakaway. “We had our chances, we could have won,” said Houle.

But the Rocket only shot Lindgren 27 times in nearly four periods.

Harvey-Pinard can stack goals (he has scored five in his last four games) and will need support. He’s playing a great tournament. His defensive retreat thirty seconds from his first goal didn’t go unnoticed. “He was our best player in the playoffs,” said Smith-Pelly.

He and Primeau are the big winners of this previous Rocket course in the playoffs, among the hopes of the CH organization. Aside from their teammates also needing to give a boost for the experience to continue.

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