Right after the BSens won seven of nine games in the last few weeks, they lost three straight in a tough week against Utica and Manitoba.
The first game of the week, against Utica, saw Belleville get shut out for the third time this season. Much like the parent club, Belleville surrendered the first goal super early, under two minutes into the game. Following the opening goal by Reilly Walsh, the Comets added another in the first period to take a 2-0 lead and that was all the goal scoring we’d see on Wednesday night.
Despite Matt Murray being present for his first game as a BSen, Mads Søgaard got the net on Wednesday as Murray was acclimating himself to a new team and a new situation. The Great Dane™ stopped 24 of 26, giving Belleville a chance to stay in the game. Unfortunately, despite having five powerplay opportunities, the BSens weren’t able to give him any run support in this one.
The BSens welcomed the Manitoba Moose to CAA Arena on Saturday for the first game of a back-to-back as Murray made his first start for the BSens - and his first AHL start since 2015-16 with the Wilkes-Barre Penguins. Murray was busy, facing 33 shots, and posted a 0.909 SV%. Belleville kicked off the game in better fashion, with Cole Reinhardt opening the scoring towards the end of the first period on an unassisted even strength tally.
Unfortunately, Manitoba evened things up early in the second and scored the next two, to take this game 3-1. The team was once again scoreless on the powerplay, going 0 for 4 on their opportunities which sees the BSens missing out on nine straight chances with the extra skater this week. This was, of course, a major factor in Belleville’s inability to win hockey games this week.
In the final game of the week, Manitoba managed to shut the BSens out 2-0, continuing their offensive drought. As this was a back-to-back, Søgaard went back in net for Belleville, turning away 26 shots and once again giving his team a chance to stay in the game. As they were shut out, it’s safe to assume the powerplay woes continued in this one as Belleville was unsuccessful on three attempts.
Mads Søgaard - Søgaard kept his team in both games he started, posting a 0.926 SV% on the week. Without his strong play, I could see either of the games he started getting out of hand, with Belleville being relatively incapable of creating offense.
Matt Murray - A 0.909 SV% doesn’t look like much for a $25M goalie but considering how little help he received, how busy he was, and that one of the three goals he allowed was on the powerplay, it’s hard to fault Murray for not posting a shutout in his debut with a new team during what I can only assume has been a stressful mental time for the player.
Egor Sokolov - Despite the lack of overall offense, it wasn’t without effort from Sokolov. The big Russian winger compiled 10 shots on net through three games this week.
The Offense - Scoring one goal on 73 shots is tough to swallow for a team that was scoring in bunches just a week or two ago.
Special Teams - Belleville allowed a powerplay goal in each game of the week while going scoreless through 12 attempts of their own.
It was a quiet week for the BSens, this might be my shortest recap of my tenure here at Silver Seven. The good news is goaltending is strong, Lassi Thomson will be heading back to the club for the upcoming week and the upcoming schedule is a light one, giving the team time to get back on track.