Laval came out flying in the opening ten minutes of the first period and as a result scored four goals on 13 shots on their way to a 5-2 victory over the Binghamton Devils. It was the home opener for the Rocket on Friday before 8257 fans at Place Bell that helped sink the Devils for their first loss in three games on the first road trip of the young season.
Laval (2-1-0-0) jumped out first when defenseman Cale Fleury sprung loose forward Byron Froese with an up-ice pass as he skated in alone and faked Devils’ goaltender Cam Johnson with a forehand-to-backhand shot for the 1-0 lead. Binghamton (2-1-0-0) would tie it less than a minute later on a five-on-three man advantage as forward Nick Lappin’s one-timer beat goalie Charlie Lindgren from the corner for his third goal in as many games.
21 seconds later the Rocket responded when defenseman David Sklenicka took advantage of a Devils’ turnover at center ice and punched in his own rebound for a shorthanded tally that made it 2-1 at 8:13 into the first.
The Rocket would then increase the lead by two when forward Nikita Jevpalovs battled for a loose puck with Binghamton defenseman Brian Strait near the corner of the net and got one by Johnson for his first of the season.
Soon after Nathan Bastian scored that cut the deficit back to one with some quick tic-tac-toe passes among Michael Kapla and Kevin Rooney, as the two clubs combined for five goals midway through the opening twenty minutes.
The final goal of the period came on the power play for the Rocket from forward Alexandre Grenier as his one-time blast came from just inside the blueline that tasered by Johnson on the five-on-three man advantage.
The two teams settled down the rest of the way as the Devils were more structured without the chaotic pace of the first period. In the middle frame they controlled the action out-shooting Laval 10-6 but couldn’t crack Lindgren. However, the damage was done and Binghamton didn’t score as the Devils managed just four shots in the final twenty minutes.
Despite the loss, the club will have redemption and look to rebound against the same team on Saturday.
Forwards: Tangradi - Seney - Lappin, Studenic - Rooney - Bastian, Pietila - Sharagnovich - Anderson, Baddock - Gignac - Speers
Defensemen: Strait - Jacobs, Yakovlev - Kapla, White - Ramage
In Goal: Cam Johnson, Mackenzie Blackwood
Scratches: Tariq Hammond, Colby Sissons, Ryan Schmelzer, Michael McLeod and Kurtis Gabriel
Post Game Notes
- Rooney, Strait and Tangradi tagged with the A’s.
- Johnson falls to 2-1-0-0 (4.43 GAA, 0.859 SV%) as Blackwood will likely get the nod in net on Saturday for his first appearance of the season.
- Lappin scored in his 3rd straight game while Seney recorded his fifth assist in as many games in the loss. Bastian was credited in the Devils’ second goal although it looked to come off the stick of Kapla in front of the crease.
- Shots ended in favor of the Rocket 32-19 with a 16-5 advantage in the opening twenty minutes. Just too much to overcome as Laval was pumped in front of a large gathering in their home opener.
- Johnson was decent but it didn’t help with the turnovers and lack of defense early on. His best display came late in the second period on a Laval power play as he made three consecutive saves off of one-timers set from the circle by Alexandre Alain.
- Brandon Gignac played in his first game in nearly a year since suffering a blown ACL as Michael McLeod was a healthy scratch for his replacement.
#1.) Byron Froese (1g, 1a), #2.) Brett Kulak (1a), #3.) Michael McCarron (1a).
Binghamton and Laval play their second contest of the weekend on Saturday for a 3:00 matinee.