Friday night's game between the Laval Rocket and Belleville Senators had the feel of a boxing gala, with officials having their hands full with three fights and several minor infractions.
These two teams don't like each other, and it's starting to show. The Rocket won this fifth round of the season by a score of 5-2 at Place Bell, but the two teams have yet to play each other seven more times. Every meeting has been explosive, except for the most recent meeting, which was particularly explosive.
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The end of the second third was chaotic. Lucas Condotta, Filip Cederqvist and Logan Mailloux had problems with Jiri Smejkal and Cole Reinhardt, then Josh Currie started the fight with Xavier Simoneau.
Condotta dropped the fight to Dillon Heatherington in the third period, but none other than Arber Xhekaj bore the brunt of the finale of this boxing card. The sturdy defender had no trouble overpowering Brennan Saulnier.
In the final moments of the game, Mailloux had one final message to send to Zack Ostapchuk, and his punch behind the attacker's head resulted in an elbow that cut him in the face.
A total of 85 minutes of penalties were handed out.
Not just fists
The first third was uneventful, except for Condotta's goal that gave the local heroes the lead. In the middle period, striker Emil Heineman received a harsh five-minute penalty for an obstructing gesture. The Swede was in possession of the puck when Smejkal hit him in the back. It was the Senators player who fell and appeared to be in pain on the ice.
On the offensive side, Jan Mysak shone with a brace. Brandon Gignac shone with an excellent pass between the legs, setting the stage for Philippe Maillet's ninth goal, which secured a point in the eighth game in a row.
Gignac, the Rocket's leading scorer with 34 points, added an empty-net goal.
It was Jakub Dobes who stood in front of the cage for the Montreal Canadiens' farm club and blocked 28 shots, earning his eighth win in his last ten starts.
Laval and Belleville will face off again on Saturday at CAA Arena.