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Brandon Gignac stands out in Rocket shootout win
The Laval Rocket took on the Utica Comets on Sunday afternoon.

The Rocket’s record this season is below expectations, with 12 wins, 14 losses and five overtime defeats. Their opponents were four points behind them and occupy last place in the North Division standings. Laval is just ahead of them in the standings.

Despite being four points behind, the Comets still have three games in hand, which makes the match rather important, as last place is at stake as the mid-season approaches.

Here’s the line-up Jean-François Houle’s team fielded for this match.

It didn’t take long for the Rocket to get on the scoreboard, thanks to Brandon Gignac, who literally put his hands up all Sunday.

He redirected a loose puck between his legs to set the tone for the game. Lias Andersson and Sean Farrell were credited with an assist each.

Gignac still doesn’t have an NHL contract, which prevents him from being recalled by the Montreal Canadiens.

If it weren’t for this AHL contract, I’m convinced the Habs would have recalled him by now.

Unfortunately, just two minutes later, Joe Gambardella tied the game.

Following this goal, we learned that the Rocket will have to get by without two forwards who are injured and won’t be returning to action: Sean Farrell and Gabriel Bourque.

With the score at 1-1, the two teams returned to the locker room after the first period.

The Rocket decided to start the period as they did at the beginning of the game. It only took 38 seconds to see Logan Mailloux score a beautiful goal from the point, thanks to a precise shot.

On the goal, Arber Xhekaj picked up an assist. This makes it six consecutive games with at least one point.

Things are definitely looking up for the Sheriff in Laval these days.

However, as fate would have it, Utica opened the scoring with two unanswered goals to take the lead for the first time in the game.

The score was now 3-2 at the end of the second period.

Halfway through the third period, the Rocket stood up.

Young Jared Davidson tied the game with a beautiful shot on goal. Gignac made a fine pass on this play, picking up an assist, as did Riley Kidney.

As can be seen in the video above, Utica completely dominated the shootout column with a 33-21 lead following Davidson’s goal. Veteran goalkeeper Kasimir Kaskisuo was solid in this match.

Once again, feisty little forward Xavier Simoneau was on hand to give 100%.

3-3 after three periods: heading to overtime.

Despite good chances on both sides, we have to go to the shootout. Here are the results.

Arnaud Durandeau (UTI): X

Phillipe Maillet (LAV) : GOAL

Justin Dowling (UTI): X

Brandon Gignac (LAV): GOAL

A second straight shootout victory for the Rocket.

36 saves in the win for Kaskisuo.

The Rocket’s next game is again against the Comets, next Wednesday, January 10.


– Logan Mailloux and Arber Xhekaj play very well together. In the 12 games they’ve played on the same defensive pair, they’ve collected 10 points each.

– Goalie Kaskisuo was once again solid in front of the net with some key saves. His arrival with the team certainly brings experience in front of the net, as demonstrated by his 36 saves.

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