Rocket loses 5-3 to Crunch in first playoff

SYRACUSE, New York – The Laval Rocket didn’t get the start they expected in their first playoff game in five years, but players are confident they can bounce back.

Anthony Richard scored two goals and one assist, Maxime Lagassi made 28 saves and the Syracuse Crunch team defeated Rocket Rocket 5-3 on Friday at Upstate Medical University Arena.

Crunch leads the Northern Division semi-final series 1-0. Game Two of the top five series will premiere on Saturday, still in Syracuse.

“I would say I’m optimistic about the next few games,” said Rocket defender Toby Beckett-Bison. We didn’t play our best game, but we had some good chances. We almost scored at the end and gave them the most goals. We will build on what we learned today and are optimistic about the future.”

Rocket took advantage of one of their two chances of strong play, while Crunch went 2 vs 4 with an extra man in a game punctuated by several melees.

“It’s important to keep calm,” said striker Joel Tisdale. They want to distract us and punish us after the whistle. We talked about it before the game and we were ready for it. We have to be better at this level.”

Alex Pelzel scored two goals, while Tisdale scored the rocket goal. Danic Martel scored two assists and Sami Nico 3, while Kevin Boleyn stopped 26 shots.

“It’s a great experience for everyone,” Belzel said. It’s my first time in the MLS playoffs and I’m 30 years old. The young man can imagine that he will participate in the playoffs every year, but this is not the reality. We have to benefit from this experience.”

Cole Koepke had a goal and an assist, while Remy Elle and Jimmy Smith were Crunch’s other goals.

The host team has won seven of the eight matches between the two teams during the regular table. The Rocket won in Syracuse at the end of the campaign, when Crunch gave permission to several regular players.

“In the series, you have to have a short memory. We lost tonight, but we have to come back tomorrow,” said Rocket coach Jean-Francois Hall, “maybe we can play better defensively. A few turnovers cost us dearly, but the effort was there” .

In addition to favoring veteran Pauline on goal Montreal Canadiens’ Cayden Primo, Holly decided to leave out young defender Matthias Norlander. The latter joined the team in the past few days after completing his campaign with FC Froland in Sweden.

Lagacé wins a duel

The missile opened scoring 4:11 in the game on the power play. Belzel chose to come back after a throw from Martel.

The Crunch responded quickly, after just 1:43. Nico went there with a wrong pass into the hole and Eli beat Pauline by one timer.

Both guards made some great balls afterwards. Lagacé twice frustrated Jesse Ylönen, while Pauline pointed out Smith’s account.

The Crunch took the lead with 1:17 to go in the first period in the power game. Kopke deflected Richard’s long shot behind Pauline.

Richard came back just 68 seconds into the second half. Pauline blocked a Koepke shot, but the replay deflected the leg of defender Torrey Dello and the puck returned to Richard in a tuck. Richard took advantage of the situation to outmaneuver Pauline.

The Rocket goalkeeper made a real heist against Charles Hudon a few minutes later, when the Crunch striker was left alone at the mouth of the net.

For his part, Lagacé shone against Xavier Ouellet while Rocket outnumbered.

Rocket cut the difference to 3-2 with 4:41 left in the second half, seconds after the power game was over. Tisdale enjoyed the comeback, while defender Frederic Cleeson was injured by the loss of a skate blade.

The Crunch regained their two-goal difference before the end of the second half, with 1:49 remaining. While Martel was in the penalty area to hit Lagacé, Smith was able to shoot into the empty net after Hudon hit the post.

Belzel revived the missile by scoring his second goal in the match 6:28 in the third half.

Pauline starred in a superb save against Koepke with less than three minutes remaining, giving his team one last chance to equalise.

Tisdale and Raphael Harvey Benard then missed golden opportunities after replacing Pauline with an additional striker. Richard let Crunch close the books by recording him in an empty grid 22 seconds before.

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