The Rocket overcame a 2-0 deficit to storm back with six consecutive goals in breezing to a 6-2 win at Place Bell in Laval tonight.
Despite falling behind it was not a game that it ever felt like the Rocket would lose, as they dominated the opening period, outshooting Belleville 19-7 and hitting a couple of posts only to be trailing 1-0. Senators’ goalie Danny Taylor was pulled after the fifth goal, but if anything it was a mercy move, as he was the sole reason the Senators were in the game after two periods trailing just 3-2, having been outshot 35-17.
The scoring was well spread out with nine different Rocket forwards getting points, Peter Holland being the only multiple point-getter among them as he led the charge with a pair of goals. Jakub Jerabek, in his North American pro debut, led the defence corps with two assists, including a sweet feed to Holland that tied the game 2-2.
Jerabek sent a clear message to Laval GM Larry Carriere and coach Sylvain Lefebvre that he’d like to stay in the lineup as he looked quite comfortable in his first AHL contest, distributing the puck crisply and demonstrating his smarts, poise and skill throughout the game. Jerabek already stands out at the AHL level as an above-average player, and if the struggles on defence continue in Montreal, both he and Brett Lernout could be called up sooner than originally planned.
We are witnessing the metamorphosing of Nikita Scherbak into a legitimate pro hockey player since his demotion to Laval a couple of weeks back.
Not sure what was said, or if a light bulb went off as he saw his NHL career flashing before his eye, but the Scherbak we saw in early NHL exhibition games and the one who played the final exhibition game for Montreal and the first two games of the AHL season are completely different players.
He has found his confidence at the AHL level, and we are seeing major glimpses of the player that collected 105 assists in 130 career WHL games, one who can dominate games with his puck skills, vision and terrific passes. Scherbak can thread the needle past several defenders with uncanny precision, and he sprung defencemen for several prime scoring chances in the high slot with excellent cross-ice feeds.
Mike McCarron was one of only three Laval forwards not to earn a point tonight, but he had some more dominant shifts with Scherbak as those two continue to show good chemistry together. McCarron led Laval with five shot and played a solid two-way game.
Just like in Montreal, the Rocket are employing four forwards on the power play, and the key forward on this night with the man advantage was Chris Terry on the point. Terry quarterbacked a lot of the plays and created several good scoring opportunities.
Waked looked more comfortable on the second line than Reway in Game 1, and it may be a few games before we see Reway in the lineup again as he continues to work on his conditioning as the player who replaced him, Nikki Pettit, scored a goal and had a solid outing.
Eisenschmid followed up his terrific penalty-killing performance in the first game with another solid game, and was rewarded for his hard work with some power-play time. He took advantage of the opportunity by scoring his first of the season with the man advantage.
Nicolas Deslauriers had a terrific game in a third-line role, terrorizing Belleville’s defence with persistent forechecking, size and strength. If he keeps playing with the same effectiveness and intensity Ales Hemsky’s time in Montreal in a fourth-line role may be fleeting as Deslauriers looks like he may be ideal for such a role 6-8 minutes per game.
Next game for the Rocket is Fri., Oct. 13 as they host Binghamton.
Laval lines tonight:
Terry McCarron Scherbak
Holland Froese Waked
Deslauriers Audette Gregoire
Petti Eisenschmid Baun