The Laval Rocket celebrated the first playoff game in Place Bell history in style, winning 4-1 against the Syracuse Crunch in a frenzied atmosphere on Thursday night.
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The Rocket lead the series 2-1 and can send their rivals on vacation on Saturday.
The Laval amphitheater had everything of a fortress in the regular season, while Jean-François Houle's troupe posted one of the best records in the American Hockey League (AHL) at home.
If you thought Rocket fans intended to become more welcoming playoff hosts, think again.
We saw it when objects were thrown on the ice after a goal denied to Xavier Ouellet, in the third period. Instead of imitating their supporters and showing indiscipline, the Rocket offered a reason for Laval residents to celebrate a few moments later.
It was Cédric Paquette who played the heroes, giving his team the lead on the power play by skilfully redirecting a pass from Jean-Sébastien Dea. The two actors of this success nailed the coffin of the Crunch at the end of the meeting by each in turn sliding the puck into an abandoned cage.
The Rocket offered very few quality scoring chances to their opponents during the game, but they can still say thank you to Cayden Primeau. The young American goalkeeper excelled in a second straight start, making 22 saves.
The Syracuse team waited until the start of the middle period to score their only goal of the match. After a lackluster effort from Paquette in a two-on-one, Remi Elie had his chance at the other end of the ice and he didn't miss it. The forward deceived Primeau with a quick slap shot.
Before that, the Crunch seemed taken aback by the vehemence of the 10,000 Rocket fans early in the game, giving their rivals four power plays in the first period.
Danick Martel made sure to make Benoît Groulx's men pay as soon as he had the opportunity. Well posted in the face-off circle, he honored a skillful pass from Sami Niku by unleashing a powerful throw on reception which gave Maxime Lagacé no chance.