For the Belleville Senators, this week started out hot before dropping below freezing as they following up their 7-3 beatdown of the Rochester Americans with back-to-back 5-2 losses to the Toronto Marlies.
Against Rochester, the big names came to play. Jacob Bernard-Docker scored his first AHL goal off a drop pass from Egor Sokolov.
The top right shot defender added another goal for his first professional multi-goal game. Sokolov was the other big name that stood out, as his assist on JBD’s goal above was just one of four points he put up against Rochester. His two goals, two assists and five shots led all BSens in each category.
Egor Sokolov takes off on the rush and picks his spot.— Pesky Sickos (@PeskySickos) October 28, 2021
Then, he pulls the monkey off his back and chucked it into the stands. What a guy.
Sokolov makes it 5-2 #BSens #FortheB #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/4t6AMPCX2W
The other player we need to talk about here is Jack Lucchini. Honestly, I know what you’re thinking because I cover the AHL regularly and I barely knew who he was so if you don’t, you definitely don’t know. Lucchini scored a goal and added two assists against Rochester, bringing him to four goals and two assists through seven games - he’s your current Belleville leading scorer. Lucchini doesn’t have a history of being an offensive threat but he’s surely making the most of his opportunities on his new team.
Over the weekend, the BSens had a home-and-home with their rivals down the 401, coming out of each game with a 5-2 loss. Just when we thought they turned a corner with a big statement game against Rochester, they didn’t seem to be able to get much of anything going against Toronto. During the first game, they were able to hold Toronto off the scoresheet until halfway through the second period. Unfortunately the BSens allowed two goals in a matter of four minutes and were never able to recover. Andrew Agozzino scored both goals for Belleville with Parker Kelly getting the primary assist on each. Pontus Åberg also had an apple.
Their second defeat to Toronto was more of the same, with the Marlies gaining a 2-0 lead in the second period and never looking back. Mark Kastelic got his first of the season with Jake Lucchini scoring the other Belleville goal. Kevin Mandolese was the starter for both games against Toronto with Mads Søgaard out with a nagging injury and Filip Gustavsson in Ottawa. He made 63 saves on 73 shots for a 0.863 SV%.
The BSens head to Rochester for another date with Americans tonight before a back-to-back in Cleveland this weekend.
Jake Lucchini - A surprising early leader of the offense, Lucchini put together two goals and two assists through three games this week. His style of play doesn’t exactly scream skill but he works hard and gets rewarded for it.
Andrew Agozzino - Scoring both goals in a 5-2 loss on Friday, Agozzino has continued his strong start to the season. As a 30 year old veteran who’s worn a letter in the AHL on multiple occasions, it’s not surprising that he’s come in as a stabilizing player for Belleville.
Egor Sokolov - While most of his production this week came during one game, he was still noticeably more like the Sokolov we’ve come to Soko-love. He totalled two goals and three assists this week.
Mark Kastelic - Kastelic scored his first of the season this week but more importantly he was strong in the faceoff dot and played a well rounded game for the BSens. He looks more like the player who received praise during Ottawa’s training camp this week than he did last week.
Kevin Mandolese - Mando started out relatively strong but this week was rough. He started all three games, allowing 13 goals in total. While he posted a 0.909 SV% against Rochester, he had a tough outing against the Marlies. It’s hard to blame it all on him, as the team in front of him didn’t give a ton of support but you need your goaltender to be one of your best players and Mandolese just wasn’t this week.
Erik Brännström - Of all the BSens, I’m hardest on Brännström because I expect so much from him. His lack of offensive production has me wondering if the coaching staff is reining in his offense so he can focus on the defensive side of his game that DJ Smith is looking for in Ottawa. He looks good in his own end and still transitions the puck like we know he can, but one assist in seven games is tough to look at for an offensive defenseman who should be dominant.
The Powerplay - Here we go again. After an ugly first week on the man advantage, the BSens followed it up with another dud. Through 10 attempts, Belleville scored one goal on the powerplay. To make matters worse, they had five opportunities in one of their 5-2 games against the Marlies. More effectiveness on the powerplay could have made it a wildly different outcome.