Rocket coach admits crew wasn’t constructed for an prolonged playoff run

“I feel we spent loads of power making an attempt to make that push for the playoffs,” Jean-François Houle mentioned, a day after being eradicated from AHL postseason play.

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Following some of the agonizing defeats of his teaching profession, mixed with a brief night time’s sleep, Jean-François Houle awoke to seek out the solar, certainly, was shining once more Saturday morning.

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However that didn’t make Friday night time’s 2-1 time beyond regulation defeat at Utica to the Comets any simpler for Houle and the Laval Rocket to digest. Not solely did Utica sweep the best-of-three sequence, the Comets scored the tying objective with two seconds remaining in regulation time earlier than requiring lower than three minutes of time beyond regulation to supply the winner, which appeared inevitable, given the house crew’s domination.

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“It’s a tricky one to swallow,” Houle mentioned Saturday afternoon at Place Bell after conducting exit conferences together with his gamers. “It’s by no means enjoyable when you will have the lead they usually rating with two seconds to go. For certain it was a heartbreaker. However that’s hockey. It occurs generally. I believed our gamers fought a reasonably good battle all through the final month.”

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The top of the season at all times is bittersweet for a company, win or lose. Regardless of ending fifth within the North Division, Laval had excessive hopes for an prolonged playoff run, with the Rocket compelled to win eight of its remaining 9 video games simply to qualify for the post-season. However it appeared that elixir ran dry in opposition to the disciplined Comets. Laval was outscored 6-1 over two video games and defenceman Frédéric Allard produced the one objective.

The entire Rockets’ offensive weapons — main scorer Anthony Richard, Canadiens’ rookie sensation Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, Jesse Ylönen and Emil Heineman — persistently fired blanks.

And, though goaltender Cayden Primeau delivered a efficiency for the ages Friday night time, going through 34 pictures — seven alone in time beyond regulation — it took multiple participant to diffuse the Comets.

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Laval had its share of late-season accidents, together with first-line centre and 20-goal scorer Mitchell Stephens, however Houle admitted his membership wasn’t constructed for the playoffs.

“I feel we spent loads of power making an attempt to make that push for the playoffs,” Houle mentioned. “The emotion was actually excessive. We solely had one objective in two video games. That actually damage. I feel psychological fatigue set in as effectively.

“I don’t suppose we had been constructed for the playoffs; all you guys may see that. I’m not going to take a seat right here and say we had been constructed for the playoffs. We’re younger on defence. On the left aspect, we had three 20 12 months olds. Within the playoffs (particularly) within the AHL, if you wish to go far, you want some veteran presence and also you want some measurement. Our crew gave the whole lot they’d. For the crew we had, we competed exhausting. However you want some measurement on the fourth line. There’s loads of issues we had been lacking.

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“However it is a developmental league.”

And the Rocket gamers, younger and previous, will probably be enriched from the experiences they lived during the last month.

There clearly will probably be modifications between now and September coaching camp. The Rocket will probably be youthful subsequent season, with quite a few prospects set to permeate the crew, Houle acknowledged. He made it sound as if 5-foot-8, 176-pound centre Danick Martel, 28, has performed his final recreation for the Rocket. Defenceman Corey Schueneman, 27, may also be searching for employment with one other group.

“We discovered a technique to get into the playoffs,” mentioned Schueneman, who performed seven video games with the Canadiens this season. “It’s a protracted season, you battle exhausting and we discovered a technique to come collectively. However you clearly wish to go additional within the playoffs. On the finish of the day, there’s nothing you are able to do about it now.

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“I feel I progressed, I feel I grew, I feel I developed. That’s one thing you wish to do yearly. I feel it was a great 12 months. I’ll speak with my agent and the group … however I used to be form of within the image this 12 months and obtained some video games. Issues change from 12 months to 12 months.”

Richard, who tallied 30 objectives and 67 factors this season, was one among many Laval forwards unable to get into prime scoring positions all through the transient sequence.

“That they had a strong crew defensively,” he defined. “They’re a lot older on the again finish. Up entrance they’d veterans who knew play within the playoffs. They performed actually tight within the impartial zone. We’re a impartial zone crew that builds velocity. After we include velocity we’re actually exhausting to play in opposition to. Our recreation (within the sequence) was actually gradual within the impartial zone. We obtained trapped a bit.”

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Richard performed 13 video games for Montreal this season, scoring three objectives and 5 factors. He believes he left his mark though the 26-year-old is eligible to turn out to be an unrestricted free agent.

“It’s only a matter of getting an extended shot,” he mentioned. “I feel if I’d have stayed there the entire 12 months, I in all probability would have been part of that crew for certain.”


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