A beautiful summer day. The thrill of the playoffs. A packed arena.
You don’t have to look far to find why the Laval Rocket players are so eager to play Thursday night, the first home playoff game in the history of the young franchise. Especially since they had to wait five long days between games 2 and 3 of their first-round series against the Syracuse Crunch, currently tied 1-1.
After having escaped the first duel, the Rocket won 3-2 last Saturday, thanks to a goal at the very end of the game.
“We found the week long,” confirmed forward Danick Martel after his club’s morning warm-up.
“We’re super excited to know that we’re playing today, that we’re starting the series again. The energy is at its height in the locker room. »
“We know it’s going to be noisy, there’s going to be a lot of people. We can’t wait to get started! added Rafaël Harvey-Pinard.
Both underlined, in this context, the importance of being wary of too much enthusiasm, especially at the start of the match. “We’re going to have to manage our emotions,” Harvey-Pinard said. You must not get carried away. You never want to go too high or too low. »
The winger also stressed the importance for his team of tightening up the defensive game compared to the first two games. The Rocket have allowed 70 shots so far, including several dangerous ones. In last Saturday’s victory, however, Cayden Primeau won in front of the Rocket net, and it is he who will get the start at home this Thursday.
“I feel like he’s mentally ready,” said head coach Jean-François Houle. [In match 2], I found him mature, aggressive. He may not have been happy not to have started the first game, but he rolled up his sleeves and showed that he was capable of taking over. It’s a beautiful thing to see from a young goalkeeper. »
Houle also warned that his men should not let the vase “overflow” in terms of intensity, especially given the quality of the numerical advantage of the Crunch. Danick Martel nevertheless recalled that he and his teammates were preparing to “go back to war”, a reference to the battle of attrition that the two clubs engaged in in Syracuse at the end of last week.
The Rocket’s roster should be similar to what we saw in the last game. However, the presence of striker Gabriel Bourque will only be confirmed at the time of the meeting.