The Laval rocket has not yet said its last word. Jean-François Houle’s squad defeated the Springfield Thunderbirds 5-1 in Game 6 of the American League East Finals on Monday.
The seventh and final game of this series takes place in Springfield on Wednesday.
Goalkeeper Cayden Primeau shone in the win. He made 30 saves. He withdrew from the game, especially on penalties. Springfield has been ruled out four times, three of them in the first half. Springfield has yet to find the back of the net with 29 chances on the power play in this series.
Primeau has conceded two goals or fewer in 10 of his 14 starts since the start of the playoffs.
Danick Martel continues to have some standout streaks. He hit the target twice, giving him a total of nine goals in 14 playoff games. His first goal of the second period gave the Rocket a 1-0 lead. He beat goaltender Joel Hofer after a blunder by guard Tommy Cross, who literally put the puck back on Martel’s stick before the net.
Gabriel Bourque delivered a hard blow to the hosts at 1:45 of the third period with his second of the playoffs to make it 2-0.
Martel, who also had an assist for Bourque’s goal, scored his second game in a breakaway at 8:51 to knock out the opponent.
The Rocket lost the services of Jesse Ylonen, who was hit hard by Mackenzie MacEachern in the first period. Ylonen looked shaken on the streak. Laval had to make do with ten attackers in the last two thirds. After the game, the Rocket coach hinted that his forward shouldn’t play the last game of this series.
Matthew Peca capitalized on a defensive error to give the Thunderbirds hope, robbing Primeau of a shutout in the third game with a 4:55 goal.
Brandon Gignac quickly set the record straight by counting in an empty net.
Lucas Condotta added a power play goal in the last minute of the game.
Joel Hofer allowed four goals in 30 shots. He returned in front of the Springfield team after relinquishing his spot to Charlie Lindgren in the last game.
The winner of that series will advance to the Calder Cup Finals to face off against the winner of the series between the Chicago Wolves and Stockton Heat. Chicago leads this West Finals 3-2 with Game 6 on Tuesday in Chicago.
The rocket stops
The Rocket appeared subdued in the first half and largely unthreatening due to a lack of discipline.
Devante Smith-Pelly took a four-minute high-sticking penalty, but the Thunderbirds couldn’t beat Primeau. At the end of the engagement, Martel was chased away, but the missile escaped unharmed.
Primeau excelled again after awarding a penalty to Rafaël Harvey-Pinard and he let the Rocket return to the dressing room by a slim one goal.
Primeau stands up, Martel breaks the ice
Important goal by Bourque at the beginning of the 3