(Springfield) They say sometimes anything can happen in Game 7, but in the case of Rocket on Wednesday night in Springfield, nothing good happened.
Updated yesterday at 10:54pm.
Mistake. turnarounds. Passes in the skates. Shots missed the net. A disastrous start to the game set the tone for the rest of the evening, which ended 4-0 in the Thunderbirds’ favour.
Just like that was the end of the rocket.
As the Thunderbirds partied on the ice at the end of the night, they wore championship caps and t-shirts (never a good idea, but good) in preparation for their appearance at the Grand Finals, which begin Sunday in Chicago, the players of Rocket silently past the team buffet in the corner of the dressing room. The atmosphere was much less festive than Monday night at the same location.
No doubt the bus ride back to Laval would be long in the middle of the night.
“I’m proud of the boys,” said striker Alex Belzile. We surprised everyone all year long. We lost, but we gave everything…”
Defeat is never easy or pleasant because it usually comes with regret. Rocket players will be plentiful to reflect on the missed opportunities on this difficult evening.
Among others, Belzile found himself in the first half with a corner of the net wide open just for him. “I missed that and I have no excuses. The puck went wide of the outside post. It happens… ”
But it happened too often, and ironically, it was two former members of the Canadiens organization that sank the Montreal school club.
The first is goalkeeper Charlie Lindgren, author of some important saves, notably a return captured by Cédric Paquette in the first half. Later, at the beginning of the third period, Lindgren will get the midway win of the evening against an incredulous Danick Martel. “He made some great saves,” admitted defender Xavier Ouellet. If we manage to convert our chances early on, it’s a different game. »
Second is Matthew Peca, who scored his club’s first goal, also on the power play, a first in 30 occasions in these circumstances for the locals since the start of this series.
A bit on the same subject, it’s also a former player of the Canadian who injured Rocket in the next goal, the Thunderbirds’ second signed by Dakota Joshua. That goal was scored because Devante Smith-Pelly, out of breath, tried to send the puck deep into enemy territory, but his underpowered shot was intercepted… and the puck landed on the other butt for the goal.
The locals also scored their third goal in overtime play and this time it was a poor clearance from Rafaël Harvey-Pinard that turned into a costly ball that led to Nathan Todd’s goal.
The Rocket tried to get back in the game and Cayden Primeau did everything he could to allow his team to pull off a miracle, he who had a total of 40 shots, but it didn’t happen.
We expected such a game from them. They were able to take their chances and Charlie made some great saves for them, that’s for sure. They have a very good team… It’s not easy at the moment, but I’m very proud of our boys. We really gave it our all.
In the American League, players come and go and teams can change quickly. Will this so amazing rocket come back? Certainly not in the current form. Players will leave, others will arrive.
Maybe that’s what the Rocket members found hard to stomach on Wednesday night in Springfield: Everything has an end, and that was the end of this chapter.
Who will be there to write the next one?
“What I will remember is that our boys played with passion,” concluded head coach Jean-François Houle. That’s all we could ask of them. »