Rocket vs. Admirals recap & highlights: Another close loss makes the playoff climb harder

Mar 25, 2023 - 10:00 AM
Arena du Rocket Inc.

The Laval Rocket had another hard fought loss on Friday night against the Milwaukee Admirals, but the only thing that matters is that they did not earn any points in their 3-2 loss.

Laval only have nine games remaining and find themselves on the outside of the AHL North Division playoff picture. The Rocket peppered Yaroslav Askarov with 46 shots, but the young Russian stopped 44 of them in the win.

The Admirals got off to a lead early in the first period when John Leonard beat Cayden Primeau for his 13th goal of the season at the 5:47 mark.

Laval tied the game over the midway mark of the period when Gabriel Bourque, the team’s acting captain with Alex Belzile up in the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens, pounced on a loose puck at the side of the net. It was his 12th goal of the season.

Shortly after Bourque’s tying goal, former Canadien Michael McCarron and Riley McKay fought.

The Rocket had a great start to the second period, with Milwaukee not getting a single shot on goal until the second half of the period. It also appeared like they took the lead when the puck bounced off of Bourque and in the net, but it was correctly ruled that it was batted in with Bourque’s hand, who was simply trying to stop the puck from hitting him in the face.

Milwaukee went into the second intermission with the lead. Anthony Angello scored for the Admirals with only 1:14 remaining.

The Rocket kept pushing the envelope in the third as they outshot Milwaukee 35-11 over the final two periods. The turning point in the game came when Laval took back-to-back penalties 20 seconds apart. Just after both penalties expired, Joakim Kemell fired a shot past Primeau. Kemell, who was playing his fourth AHL game of the season, also assisted on Angello’s goal.

Less than two minutes later, the Rocket pulled one back on the power play. Emil Heineman passed the puck to Peter Abbandonato who’s shot hit off of Xavier Simoneau and bounced to Pierrick Dubé to make it a 3-2 game.

Laval pulled Primeau late in the game, but couldn’t get the tying goal. Primeau made 21 saves in the loss.

The Rocket lost all three games on the most recent homestand and now head on the road for four games starting Sunday in Winnipeg against the Manitoba Moose. They will play again on Tuesday before finishing the road trip in Rockford and Milwaukee. They have lost five straight games.


Jayden Struble made his AHL debut as the Rocket went with seven defenders and 11 forwards. Nolan Yaremko was the forward out of the lineup. Nicolas Beaudin returned to the lineup as well and Frederic Allard sat out. Kevin Poulin returned to the lineup and was the backup as Philippe Desrosiers was sent back to Trois-Rivières.


The Rocket are only one point out of fifth spot in the division, which is the final playoff spot, but have played three games more than the Cleveland Monsters. Laval, with nine games left, is running out of time to collect points.

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