The Belleville Senators closed off their inaugural season with another losing week, while only two prospects remain in the CHL playoffs. Both Logan Brown and Drake Batherson are racing for a chance to play in the Memorial Cup, and have been doing everything in their power to get there.
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Brown has been a playmaking machine for the Kitchener Rangers, as they won their second round series against the Sarnia Sting in six games. They await either the Soo Greyhounds or Owen Sound Attack, who will play game seven tonight.
The first round saw Brown explode offensively, scoring in every game for thirteen points in six games. The competition level moved up in the second round, but that hasn’t stopped Brown, as his eight points in six games has kept him atop the OHL scoring leaderboard. Former teammate Gabriel Vilardi is his biggest competition, sitting one point behind with his team still in the playoffs.
If one playoff scoring leader isn’t enough, Batherson has also been playing at an elite level, vaulting him into first place amongst QMJHL post-season points leaders. In his five-game series against Moncton, he scored in every game, including back-to-back four point performances. He also scored two goals in game five to definitively close out the series.
Blainville-Boisbriand are favourites to win the QMJHL championship, and they’ve certainly delivered. Despite playing only nine games (they won their first seven consecutive), three of the top four scorers league-wide hail from their team. They face the Charlottetown Islanders next, with game one slated for this Friday.
Switching it up a bit, Moutrey gets his first nod in this section for his performance in Belleville’s final week. His first multi-point game of the season came in a 6-4 loss to the Rochester Americans (goal + primary assist), while also picking up another assist in the last game, a 4-3 loss to the Marlies.
Acquired as a toss-in for flipping Ian Cole to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Moutrey has been performing only as an AHL depth player, a role he’s fulfilled since the start of his pro career. He finishes 2017-18 tying his career-low of eleven points, although he missed a significant portion of the season pre-trade with an injury. At 22 years old, he’ll be an RFA this off-season.
- World Championships update: Thomas Chabot has officially joined Team Canada, while Filip Chlapik and Filip Gustavsson are in the tryout camps for Czech Republic and Sweden respectively.
- Aaron Luchuk, the regular season leading scorer in the OHL, had his junior career come to an end this week as his Barrie Colts fell in six games to the Kingston Frontenacs. He’ll report to Belleville next season, with big aspirations after a monstrous year.
- Goaltending prospect Joel Daccord was named co-MVP on Arizona State University. His 90.9% save percentage may not be eye-popping, but he had the hardest workload of any NCAA netminder.
- Looking at the Belleville Senators this season, the only logical conclusion is that this organization needs a massive shake-up, starting with the general manager and going all the way down to the players. They’ve become the AHL’s Medusa — every player that dons their jersey sees their production turn to stone. And not Stone, the good kind.
There were twelve players this season who formerly played for the B-Sens, who would’ve led this year’s Belleville squad in scoring. Twelve! Sure, some of those include long-removed guys like Bobby Butler and uhh... *checks notes*... Dustin Gazley, but four were with the organization as recently as last year (Varone, Puempel, Robinson, Bailey). Heck, even Chris DiDomenico nearly doubled his scoring rate once he was traded to Rockford. It’s become a systemic problem, and something needs to give. End rant.
- For at least a glimmer of positive news from Belleville, Gabriel Gagné reached 20 goals. He didn’t even need an abnormal shooting percentage to get there either (11.3%), as he was Belleville’s highest volume shooter.
- Marcus Hogberg also finished off his season on a strong note, stopping 37 of 38 shots in Belleville’s only win of the week. Filip Gustavsson didn’t fare quite as well, allowing nine goals on 67 shots in his final two games (save percentage of 86.6%).
- A little more news: Boston Leier has signed an AHL contract to play on the B-Sens next season. A 24-year old from Saskatoon, he’s spent his last four seasons at Acadia University following his WHL career. He impressed in his games with Belleville late this season, picking up four goals and two assists in eight games.
- With only a couple prospects still in action, this will be the last formal prospect update of the season, although we’ll continue to update you if anything significant happens. Thanks for following along in this series’ first year — if there’s anything you’d like to see changed for next season, feel free to drop a suggestion in the comments.