John Quenneville scored two goals in his first game back after sickness but it wasn’t enough as the Laval Rocket put an end to seven consecutive losses with a 4-3 triumph over the Binghamton Devils on Friday. The loss also ended the BDevils modest three-game win streak and fell further out of the pack for a postseason appearance at 23-25-5-0 and seventh place in the North Division.
This was supposed to be the weekend the Devils would break out and build on their win streak with two games against the slumping Rocket before facing the Amerks on Sunday. However, just the opposite would transpire in front of a small turnout at The Floyd. Perhaps the players took Laval too lightly as they found themselves in a 3-0 hole halfway through the contest. Maybe they were looking ahead to Rochester on Sunday where they have had some recent success the past two seasons.
For whatever reasons, it wasn’t pretty but they were able to close the gap with two goals in the second half of the middle frame before heading into the third. But it wasn’t enough to force overtime and who would escape with a bonus point.
Laval scored two in the opening period as Alexandre Alain (7) and Alexandre Grenier (9) set the tone early with Binghamton having some defensive lapses that didn’t help out starter Cam Johnson with some costly turnovers deep in the defensive zone.
In the second, Laval made it 3-0 on a Ryan Murphy turnover as Alex Belzile (12) stripped the puck off the defenseman and skated in all alone beating Johnson cleanly crossing the crease. Soon after the BDevils were able to close the gap when Quenneville rifled a shot from his favorite spot near the top of the circle that sailed far side of the net past goalie Charlie Lindgren.
Then Binghamton made it a one-goal game with 1.2 seconds left as Nikita Jevpalovs clearing attempt landed at the heels of Colton White inside the blueline, as he let loose a wrister that deflected off Jevpalovs and by Lindgren. The late goal gave Binghamton momentum as they came out buzzing at the top of the third period.
It looked as though the two clubs were heading to overtime with the result of the BDevils’ pressure before an empty netter by Daniel Audette (9) with 1:12 remaining altered plans. JQ scored his second of the night on a one-timer set up by Egor Yakovlev from the slot with 21 seconds left, but the team eventually fell short in their comeback effort.
Shots ended up at 24 apiece.
Line-Up, Game #53
Forwards: Tangradi - McLeod - Bastian, Gignac - Schmelzer - Studenic, Quenneville - Sharangovich - Sarcino, Baddock - Speers - Popugaev
Defensemen: Yakovlev - Murphy, White - Ramage, Hammond - Jacobs
In Goal: Cam Johnson, Evan Cormier
Scratches: Brian Strait, Eddie Lack, Blake Pietila, Colby Sissons and Mackenzie Blackwood
Post Game Notes
- Blackwood out with the flu while JQ returns after he had been sick as well missing both games in Cleveland last weekend. Pietila injured while Sissons a healthy scratch.
- Binghamton with a sloppy effort in the first period that carried over into the second before they made it a game with those two goals. The defense was at risk for the most part as Laval came on hard applying pressure.
- Nikita Popugaev made his NA debut and skated alongside Speers and Baddock on the fourth line. The lumbering forward did his best but it’s too early to form an opinion. But, I’ll keep an eye on him as it won’t be too hard to miss at 6’ 6”.
- Tough night for Murphy as he looked frustrated at times, failing to clear out the puck. Let’s hope he can flush this one and regroup on Saturday.
- Binghamton falls further out of a playoff position as they failed to reach the .500 plateau with the third quarter coming to an end very soon. Can’t blame injuries as the team was healthy for the most part. Tough going after what appeared to be a turning point heading for a possible run for the playoffs.
#1. Daniel Audette (1g,1a), #2. Alex Belzile (1g), #3. John Quenneville (2g)
The two teams will meet again in a rematch on Saturday on home ice.