The Laval Rocket did not say its last word. Jean-François Houle’s men defeated the Springfield Thunderbirds 5-1 in Game 6 of the American League East final on Monday.
The seventh and final game of this series will take place on Wednesday, also in Springfield.
Goalkeeper Cayden Primeau was brilliant in the win. He made 30 saves. He withdrew from the game especially on the penalty. Springfield has been sidelined on four occasions, including three in the first half. Springfield has yet to find the back of the net on power play on 29 occasions in this series.
Primeau has conceded two or fewer goals in 10 of his 14 starts in the playoffs.
Danick Martel continues to have some stellar winning streaks. He hit the goal twice, scoring a total of nine goals in 14 playoff games. His first goal in the second period gave the Rockets a 1-0 lead. He beat goalkeeper Joel Hofer after a mistake by guard Tommy Cross, who literally put the puck back on Martel’s stick in front of the net.
Gabriel Bourque dealt a severe blow to the hosts at 1:45 of the third period with his second of the playoffs for a 2-0 win.
Martel, who also had an assist on Bourque’s goal, scored his second of the match on a breakaway at 8:51 to take out opponents.
The Rocket lost the services of Jesse Ylonen who was badly hit by Mackenzie MacEachern in the first bout. Ylonen looked shaken by the winning streak. Laval has had to deal with ten forwards in the past two bouts. After the match, coach Rocket hinted that his striker shouldn’t play the last game of this series.
Matthew Peca took advantage of a defensive error to give the Thunderbirds hope and deprive Primeau of a shutout with a goal of 4:55 to go to the third.
Brandon Gignac was quick to set the record straight by counting into empty net.
Lucas Condotta added a goal in power play in the last minute of play.
Joel Hofer conceded four goals out of 30 shots. He was returning to the front of the Springfield team after giving his place to Charlie Lindgren in the last game.
The winner of this series will advance to the Calder Cup final to face the winner of the series between Chicago Wolves and Stockton Heat. Chicago leads this 3-2 Western final with Game 6 in Chicago on Tuesday.
The rocket resists
The Rockets seemed cautious in the first half and mostly non-threatening due to their lack of discipline.
Devante Smith-Pelly took a four-minute high penalty, but the Thunderbirds were unable to beat Primeau. At the end of the engagement, Martel was cast out, but the Rocket was unharmed.
Primeau stood out once again, after a penalty awarded to Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, and allowed the Rocket to return to the locker room with a subtle one-goal lead.
Primeau gets up, Martel breaks the ice
Bourque’s important goal at the start of the 3rd