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Belleville Cools Down During Important Stretch

Despite finishing the year solely playing against divisional rivals, Joey Daccord and the BSens struggled to pick up important points to cap off 2019.

Jason Scourse

Heading into the final stretch of 2019, Belleville had seven games lined up against divisional rivals in an important stretch for their playoff hopes. As we get to the end of the year, if Belleville isn’t in a playoff spot, you can likely point to a few of these games as the crucial points they left on the table.

Over the past two weeks, a lot has happened. Joey Daccord has made some waves as a serious contender for the starting spot in Belleville, Rudolfs Balcers’ point streak finally came to an end and Belleville’s penalty woes impacted their ability to win games.

Wednesday, December 18 - Utica 4, Belleville 3

Here are the highlights.

  • Daccord got the start, stopping 23 of 27 shots (0.851 SV%) and allowing a pair of goals on the powerplay.
  • Belleville’s special teams were the difference maker, as they allowed six attempts and Utica capitalized on two of them.
  • Michael Carcone and Alex Formenton contributed a goal and an assist each.
  • Rudolfs Balcers’ point streak extended to 13 games with an assist.

Friday, December 20 - Belleville 7, Syracuse 3

Here are the highlights.

  • Daccord got a second straight start and saved 22 of 25 (0.880 SV%) shots in the win.
  • Parker Kelly (2G, 1A), Vitaly Abramov (1G, 1A), Joseph Labate (1G, 2A), Cole Cassels (2A), Frank Corrado (2A), Rudolfs Balcers (2A) and Jonathan Aspirot (2A) all had multi-point performances.
  • Balcers’ point streak extended to 14 games.
  • Belleville allowed another pair of goals on the penalty kill.

Saturday, December 21 - Toronto 7, Belleville 3

Here are the highlights.

  • Filip Gustavsson allowed four goals on 15 shots before being replaced by Daccord who allowed an addition three on eight shots. Not a good look for the goaltending duo.
  • Josh Norris, Filip Chlapik and Drake Batherson were the goal scorers.
  • Balcers’ point streak survived another day, making it to 15 games (aka. every single game he had played to date).
  • Three straight games with multiple goals against while on the penalty kill.

Thursday, December 26 - Belleville 3, Toronto 2

Here are the highlights.

  • Bounce back game for Belleville with Daccord recording a 0.933 SV% for the win.
  • Jack Dougherty, Jordan Szwarz and Norris found the scoresheet.
  • Belleville held Toronto to one powerplay goal.
  • Balcers’ point streak comes to an end at 15 games - 6G, 16A in that span.

Friday, December 27 - Rochester 4, Belleville 3

Here are the highlights.

  • Gustavsson posted a 0.871 SV% in the loss, allowing two goals to Rochester’s powerplay.
  • Jordan Murray, Abramov and LaBate were the goal scorers.
  • Batherson was held off the scoresheet but not without an effort as he peppered Rochester for eight shots of his own.
  • Rochester scored the game winning goal with two seconds left in regulation.

Saturday, December 28 - Belleville 8, Syracuse 2

Here are the highlights.

  • Daccord stopped 22 of 24 (0.917 SV%) for his fifth win in six starts.
  • Abramov netted his first professional hat trick.
  • Logan Brown returned to Belleville and made an immediate impact, setting up Balcers for his first of two goals in the game.
  • Chlapik contributed a goal and two assists while Max Lajoie scored his first goal of the season.

Tuesday, December 31 - Laval 4, Belleville 3

Here are the highlights.

  • Daccord saw another start, turning away 31 shots for a 0.911 SV%.
  • Belleville erased a 3-0 deficit to force extra time.
  • Norris contributed two goals, an assist and eight shots on net.
  • Another game, another pair of goals allowed while down a player.

Daccord Taking Full Advantage

When an injury hits, we often think about the immediate impact to the team but we don’t always consider how that trickles down. When Craig Anderson went down to injury in late November, the trickle effect saw Daccord get the call from Brampton to start his truly professional career in the AHL. In these moments, you’re always looking for the prospect to take full advantage of the opportunity in front of them. Daccord has done that and more.

Since being recalled on November 30th, the Belleville Senators are 5-1-0 when Daccord starts between the pipes. In those starts, Daccord has posted a neat and tidy 0.919 SV% while facing an average of 28 shots each game. Daccord, of course, is no stranger to facing his share of shots as he was absolutely peppered in his time helping to build the Sun Devils’ hockey program in the NCAA. The only truly ugly spot on Daccord’s record this season with Belleville was when he replaced Gustavsson in an already lost game and allowed three goals on eight shots.

We have to take sample size into account with these kinds of things, of course. While Daccord has been solid for the BSens, he’s also only played in a little over six games. There’s still plenty of time for him to cool off. What I do believe he has done here is given GM Pierre Dorion something to think about as the season continues. You can’t possibly send a goaltender who is playing as well as Daccord is back to the ECHL. So, when Anders Nilsson returns to action, Dorion essentially has three choices. First, demote Daccord. Second, demote Gustavsson. Third, trade a goaltender (probably Anderson). For me, it should be the third option if there’s literally anything on the table for Anderson.

If you are serious about this rebuild, you should be giving the goaltenders with any type of NHL future every chance to play in the AHL or higher. While Gustavsson is being outplayed by Daccord at the moment, I don’t think he should be sent back to Brampton either just because Ottawa has too many goalies. The ideal scenario for me sees Nilsson and Marcus Hogberg sharing the crease in Ottawa while Gustavsson and Daccord battle it out in Belleville.

Of course, just like with everything this season, the answer to this predicament is likely to come much closer to the NHL trade deadline when Dorion (hopefully) starts moving out veteran bodies for picks and prospects.