It was a quiet week as the Belleville Senators fumbled their way to back to back losses to the Toronto Marlies and Syracuse Crunch.
Friday, December 1 - Toronto 3, Belleville 1
This game felt quite familiar as Belleville was outplayed by the Marlies for the third time in a little over a week. Coach Kleinendorst, a creature of habit, lined his players up the same way he did in Belleville’s 5-4 OT win a few nights before. Pairing Belleville’s leading scorer Gabriel Gagne with the likes of Max McCormick and Jim O’Brien on the top line while keeping leaving Filip Chlapik to manage small minutes on the fourth line continued to baffle me on Friday night. Anyways, onto the recap.
Dmytro Tymashov opened the scoring eight minutes into the first period as Belleville left him all alone to beat Danny Taylor. Halfway through the second period, O’Brien sent a pass to Francis Perron in front of the net who beat Marlies forward Adam Brooks to the puck and banged it past Calvin Picard. In a very familiar scenario, the Marlies would retake the lead when Colin Greening found Tymashov... alone... again. Tymashov made no mistake for his second of the game. Kerby Rychel would add the insurance goal with a few minutes to go in the second period and that was all she wrote.
Maxim Lajoie: It’s good to see Lajoie return from injury and get back into the swing of things. When you lose a dynamic player like Thomas Chabot to the big club, you need someone to fill his shoes on the powerplay and Lajoie does it well. He only had one shot on net but his puck movement was noticeably strong in this one.
Francis Perron: While scoring Belleville’s lone goal, I thought Perron had a strong game - despite his lack of ice time. He played most of the game opposite Colin White with Chris Kelly in the middle (yes, you read that correctly) and despite having an offensive blackhole for a centreman, he did well.
Colin White: Kelly’s other winger generated five shots on net in the loss on Friday. It’s very clear White has more individual talent than most of the team but he tends to play with lesser skiller players. It kind of reminds me of Mike Hoffman perpetually playing on the third line - a waste of talent.
Here are the highlights.
Saturday, December 3 - Syracuse 5, Belleville 4 (SO)
In Chris DiDomenico’s return to Belleville, the Senators had one of their more high scoring affairs of the season. Coincidence? Probably not entirely. After being reclaimed on waivers from Tampa Bay, DiDomenico had a goal, an assist and three shots on net in his return to the BSens.
Dominik Masin opened the scoring just over two minutes into the game and down came the teddy bears. It was teddy bear toss night in Syracuse, apparently. I had no idea so that was a fun surprise. Anyways! About 15 minutes later,
the one and only Filip Chlapik evened the game. McCormick and Chlapik played give and go on a two-on-one and Chlapik buried his fourth of the season blocker side. Mitchell Stephens would regain the Syracuse lead just before the end of the first period.
Just under two minutes into the second period, White scored a laser on a one timer from Perron with the man advantage.
Colin White with beauty regulation & shootout goals tonight pic.twitter.com/XtpJAxHvIW— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) December 3, 2017
Later in the period, Syracuse would take the lead again, making it 3-2 after 40 minutes. In the third period, things went well for the Senators. DiDomenico scored a powerplay goal on a one-timer from Nick Paul. A few minutes later, Paul and DiDomenico would connect again, this time taking advantage of a turnover and Paul scoring his first (yes, first) of the season.
With less than a minute left in the third period, and Belleville winning 4-3, the Senators got passive and Adam Erne tied the game to force extra time. Overtime didn’t solve anything and the shootout ended in a disappointing manner. It took a total of 14 shooters to end this one and White’s lone shootout goal wasn’t enough as Andrew Hammond was beat twice and the Crunch took the game.
Chris DiDomenico: We missed you, DiDo.
My best friend Chlapik was given more ice time and marginally better linemates and (McCormick and Rodewald), would you look at that, he had a great game! Who could have possibly thought giving your most skilled player more ice time would pay off? Wow.
Special Teams: The Senators scored two power play goals and allowed one goal on five penalty kills. Perron and White connected on the first goal while White, DiDomenico and Paul connected on the second. Like the big club, Belleville’s special teams has a loooooong way to go but this was a decent showing for them.
Here are the highlights.
Belleville has now lost six of their last eight games and are sitting near the bottom of the Eastern Conference again this year. The Senators are going to need to string together some wins if they want to keep their small chance of making the playoffs alive. The good news is, the next few weeks includes a number of winnable games - most notably two meetings with the Binghamton Devils in the next ten days.
I’m going to have a deeper dive into the first half of the season coming up soon so keep an eye out if you’re into that kind of thing.