This one felt like a playoff game.
It has to be for Laval, who sit second in a razor thin North Division and the Penguins, trying to chase down a faltering Hershey team for the fifth spot in the Atlantic Division and stave off being chased by the Bridgeport Islanders.
Saturday afternoon’s results was a 5-3 Laval Rocket win over the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins.
A late goal by Nate Schnarr from a tight angle gave the Rocket a 4-3 lead after the Penguins battled back to tie the game at three off of a Chris Bigras goal. It looked like they were headed to overtime, but Schnarr and the Rocket had other ideas.
Louis Domingue opposed Cayden Primeau.
Here’s how they lined up:
Lineup Notes: Corey Andonovski for Kasper Bjorkqvist was the only lineup change. Bjorkqvist was recalled at 5 p.m. Saturday.
First Period: These two teams don’t play each other often, but this was an explosive start.
1:19 in, Louie Belpedio bullrushes Domingue and Kevin Roy puts the puck in the net.
Referees Mike Campbell and Mackenzie Nichol briefly discussed it but let the goal stand.
I don’t know. No one pushed Belpedio into Domingue and initiated contact. From the angle of the camera looked like Domingue was in his crease. What’s goaltender interference? No one knows.
Pens get the goal back when Michael Chaput scored to tie the game at one.
But then ex-Penguin J-S Des finds Cedric Paquette with a tape to tape pass that Paquette easily taps past Domingue for a 2-1 Rocket lead.
Ridiculous pass but a better finish.
Things settled down from there, a bit. There was about 1:20 of straight three-on-three action which spilled over to the…
Second Period: Wilkes-Barre couldn’t get anything going offensively because they were killing penalty after penalty after penalty.
But late in the period, J-C Beaudin takes a path toward the net, takes a shot which is blocked, then he gets the puck back and wheels around the net and finds Gabriel Bourque who scores to make it 3-1 Rocket.
One of those, “look out! damn!” moments watching it in real time.
But the Penguins get it back about 1:15 later when Sam Poulin scores to bring it back to one for the Pens.
Third Period: Wilkes-Barre had a chance on a power play and it was a good effort but a better kill by the Rocket getting out of it clean.
Chris Bigras scored to tie the game at 3 at even strength.
Kinda felt there was another goal out there with a lot of time left to play.
Sadly, the other team scored that goal. Nate Schnarr scores from a stupid angle and lifts the puck over the shoulder of Louis Domingue to score and make it 4-3 for Laval.
Pens, with Domingue pulled, see Rafael Harvey-Pinard score an empty net goal.
Three Stars: 3) Cedric Paquette (goal) 2) Rafael Harvey-Pinard (goal, two assists) 1) Kevin Roy (goal, assist)
The Good: Nice way to battle back to 3-3 midway through the game. It did truly feel like a playoff game.
The Bad: I don’t like scoreboard watching, and with this result that is what we will be doing the remainder of the weekend.
Turning Point: Nate Schnarr’s marker late in the third gets it here. Obvious choice.
Around the Division: Bridgeport pounds Toronto 5-1…Hershey loses in a shootout in Hartford 4-3…Providence beats Springfield in a heavyweight battle 3-2…Belleville beats Lehigh Valley 3-2 in a shootout.
Standings: Hershey five up on the Pens for the fifth spot. Bears aren’t in action until next Friday. Pens burn off their last game in hand on Hershey Wednesday against Hartford. Bridgeport is .008 percentage points off the Pens for the final playoff spot (the Pens have .516 percentage points)
Who plays who tomorrow: Hershey is off, Bridgeport comes back across the border and travels to Rochester.
Wheeling Update: Indy beats the Nailers 5-4 in overtime. Matt Alfaro and Patrick Watling score.
Video Highlights: If I see one I will run it here.
Pens will travel back to USA Sunday, figure to have a few days off and will host Hartford Wednesday at 7. More then.
Let’s Go Pens!