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The Rocket will sneak into the playoffs if…

The Rocket will sneak into the playoffs if…

Laval – The equation is very simple. No need to hit the calculator function on your cell phone, that's what we're here for. Hoping to sneak into the playoffs, the Laval Rockets must win their final two games of the season against the Belleville Senators, Friday and Saturday.

And cross your fingers.

With 74 points to his credit, the Canadian's younger brother currently occupies sixth place in the Northern League, four points behind Belleville and the fifth level opens the door to the playoffs.

Thanks to Wednesday's signature win over the Syracuse Crunch, the Senators forced the Rockets to beat them twice in regulation time. If they succeed, the Laval residents will score the same set of points as Belleville (78), but will be ahead of the Ontario club thanks to the first tiebreaker in their favor, which is wins in regulation time.

We then have to hope the Utica Comets don't achieve the improbable. With 73 points on the clock, the New Jersey Devils hopefuls have a chance to beat the Rocket at the finish line if they win their final three games of the campaign, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

” three games In three evenings, it is very difficult to win, as Rockets coach Jean-François Holly pointed out earlier this week. If they win them, good for them, they probably deserve it. But we don't worry about other teams, we only worry about ourselves. We just want to win our matches. »

Veteran Philippe Maillet said: “Our fate is not exactly in our hands, but we are still in control of the situation.” It will take two good games. »

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Two excellent matches against an opponent they know well. Too much, some might say. On Friday in Belleville, the Laval residents will face the Ottawa Senators farm club for the 11th and penultimate time of the season. Twelve games are against the same team, which is one game out of every six on a 72-game calendar. This raises tensions, let's say…

“There are many things we don't see on TV, like beatings… We don't like each other, that's for sure,” confirms Maillet. And at the end of the week, we're both fighting for the same thing: a place in the playoffs. It's going to be a very intense hockey game. »

“They were good games,” Hall replied, weighing his words when asked if he was tired of having the Senators between his legs. “Of course, for the coach, it is often the same team, but for the fans, it is intense matches, it is a competition. »

The rivalry is intense between Rocket players and Senators.

The Rocket have the advantage so far this season, posting a 6-4 record against their Ontario rival. Three times this year the two teams have faced each other twice in less than 24 hours. The Rocket had two straight victories in two of these series, sharing the honors in the third series.

“We are focused on Friday because if we don't win, it won't matter on Saturday,” recalls Maillet, who, like his teammates and coach, dreams of rewarding Rocket fans with a meaningful final at Place. The bell is on Saturday.

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“The times that building The loudest is when we play against Belleville. These matches are intense and Difficult. You're burned out yet gamesbut those are the most Hazar To play. »

Reinforcements arrive

As of this writing, there are still some unanswered questions regarding the trio that Holley will send to the CAA Arena ice rink on Friday.

Midfielders Brandon Gignac and Mitchell Stevens, who sustained lower and upper body injuries respectively, did not practice with the team for the second straight day on Wednesday and their participation in the first encounter remains uncertain. Thus, Gignac will miss the fourth match in a row, and Stevens will miss the second match.

“On the left side, the best duel player is Gignac, then on the other side Stevens. He leaves a gap for duels. These two players contribute greatly to the numerical advantage and disadvantage. He creates a hole, but Hailey, The next guy arrives. That's what the American League is all about, let the next guy take the pole. »

In fact, offensive reinforcements must come mainly from within. Only Joshua Roy, who has recovered from a right hand injury, will be added to the squad. After receiving the green light from doctors to return to action, the Quebecois player trained with the Rocket on Wednesday, a few hours before his official transfer to the MLS by CH.

Luke Tuch and Florian Xhekaj, two prospects the Canadian recently signed, present options for Hall to replace Jacob Perreault, who has his season cut short.

On the blue line, Logan Mailloux, Jayden Struble and Justin Barron were also made available for the Rockets.

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For their part, the Ottawa Senators loaned forwards Zach Ostapchuk and Jiri Smjkal to their farm club on Wednesday for the weekend's crucial games. At the beginning of the week, center Matthew Highmore was demoted to B-sense.

So the final battle is approaching, and it will be important. It is a more than happy result for the young Rocket, who has only five wins after the first 22 matches of the calendar, and one that should be remembered.

“If we were told after 15 games that by winning our last two games, we would reach the title Playoffs“I think everyone will be happy to have us back,” says Maillet.

“There, we have to make the series. But after that, I wouldn't be surprised if we go too far.”