CALGARY, AB – A late push from the Stockton Heat (8-4-1-0) fell just short, as the visiting Laval Rocket (10-4-1-0) were able to hang on by a 4-3 final score Saturday at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Goals for the home team came from captain Byron Froese in the first as well as Michael Stone and Luke Philp in the third.
The Rocket jumped on top for the second consecutive game, Rafael Harvey-Pinard finding the back of the net for the edge just past the midway point of the opening frame. It didn’t take long for the Heat to counter, as Froese tipped an Alexander Yelesin shot past Michael McNiven just 37 seconds later to draw even.
Laval broke the tie in the second period with a pair of goals, Joel Teasdale lighting the lamp 1:40 into the stanza and Joseph Blandisi punctuating the period’s scoring with 3:33 to go in the frame for a two-goal edge through 40 minutes.
The Rocket added to their lead to start the scoring in the third, Jesse Ylonen for the Rocket 10:16 into the frame, before Stockton answered with Michael Stone lighting the lamp with 5:31 remaining. Luke Philp then brought the Heat within a score with just over a minute remaining in regulation, but Stockton was unable to find the equalizer.
– Kris Bennett made his pro debut in the game.
– Alexander Yelesin skated in his 50th AHL game. With an assist, he has scored in back-to-back games for the first time in his career.
– Byron Froese netted his first AHL goal of the season in his second game back with the Heat.
– The teams’ goals in the first period were separated by just 37 seconds, the shortest gap between scores in a Heat game this season.
– Michael Stone’s power play goal in the third was his first AHL score since January 8, 2013.
– Luke Philp’s goal extended his scoring run to points in six of the last seven and eight of the last 10.
STK PP – 1-5
STK PK – 4-5
First – Joel Teasdale (1 goal, 1 assist)
Second – Joseph Blandisi (1 goal)
Third – Byron Froese (1 goal)
W – Michael McNiven (22 saves on 25 shots faced)
L – Louis Domingue (17 saves on 21 shots faced)
The Heat and Rocket will meet once again on Sunday, a 2 p.m. MDT, 1 p.m. PDT puck drop at the Scotiabank Saddledome.