Montreal Canadiens: Laval Rocket Blow Two Goal Lead In Final 22 Seconds

MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 22: Laval Rocket. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 22: Laval Rocket. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Montreal Canadiens prospects with the Laval Rocket might have forgotten what it is like to lose a game before last night. Unfortunately, they were reminded in a brutal way.

Entering last night’s contest with the Manitoba Moose, the Rocket had won six straight, and haven’t lost since they fell 4-3 to the Toronto Marlies two weeks ago.

Last night’s game was their fifth in a row on the road as they continue an eight game road trip through Calgary and Manitoba. They won four straight in Calgary against the Stockton Heat, who relocated North for the winter to play at the Saddledome and be close to their NHL club.

The Rocket fell behind early last night when Jeff Malott scored for the Moose on Michael McNiven. McNiven was making just his fourth start of the season, but he was putting his perfect 3-0-0 record on the line. He would need some help after falling behind just eight minutes into the game and he got that help in a hurry.

Just over five minutes later, Joe Blandisi converted a spinning chance in front as he knocked in a pass from Joel Teasdale on the power play. Defenceman Corey Schueneman added the second assist on the early tying goal.

The Rocket scored a pair of quick goals in the second period to extend their lead to 3-1.

First, it was youngster Jesse Ylonen who ripped a one-timer past Mikhail Berdin in the Moose goal.  Just as a power play expired, Josh Brook fed a cross ice pass to Ylonen who would wind up and hammer the puck from the top of the circle and score. It was Ylonen’s seventh goal of the season and was assisted by Otto Leskinen as well as Brook.

Just over a minute later, some great puck movement in the Moose zone would lead to Guillaume Brisebois getting open in the high slot. He quickly stopped up the pass from Blandisi and ripped home a wrist shot to make it 3-1 Rocket.

The third period started with the Moose hitting a couple of posts, but otherwise being held to the outside and not being able to get great chances. Manitoba pulled their goaltender late in the period and narrowly avoided allowing an empty net goal as the Rocket had some pressure in the Moose zone but couldn’t get the puck to the net.

Then, off a faceoff in the Rocket end, first round pick Kristian Veslainen scored to make it 3-2 with just 22 seconds to play. Unbelievably, the Moose were able to score again in the final second to tie the game. There was some controversy about whether the puck crossed the line before the buzzer rang or not, but with no video review in the AHL this season, the call stood and the game headed to overtime.

Some fancy puck movement led to chances for Josh Brook walking in off the blue line, and Joel Teasdale getting a partial breakaway off a great Corey Schueneman pass, but the game stayed tied without a single whistle in the five minute overtime.

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McNiven stopped first round picks Kristian Vesalainen and Cole Perfetti, while Jesse Ylonen and Ryan Poehling were stopped. Nathan Todd beat McNiven on the Moose third attempt and Jordan Weal couldn’t extend the shootout as he was stopped by Berdin as well and the Rocket lost for the first time in their last seven games.