The Belleville Senators got the job done in Toronto this weekend, securing all four points in back-to-back victories in another instalment of the Battle of Ontario: AHL Edition.
Saturday’s matinee was a fantastic performance from the BSens, with Mads Søgaard getting his first AHL start following his quarantine period. It wasn’t until the second period that the scoring got started on Saturday. JC Beaudin scored his third of the season and Jonathan Aspirot potted his fourth.
Taking a 2-0 lead into the second intermission is always a great thing but you have to remember to start the second with just as much energy and enthusiasm as what got you to that 2-0 lead in the first place. Unfortunately for Belleville, that wasn’t the case. They stepped onto the ice flat and surrendered two goals in the first three minutes of the second period. Then, it was Beaudin to the rescue again as he enabled his team to regain the lead just a few minutes later.
Halfway through the second, Cole Reinhardt continued his streak of late and got himself on the board on a beautiful tip from a Lassi Thomson point shot.
Lassi Thomson's shot was tipped in by Cole Reinhardt to give Belleville a 4-2 lead on Saturday afternoon— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) May 1, 2021
For Thomson, that's his 10th assist in 27GP as an AHL rookie#GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/xRbkOeRmBe
Speaking of continuing hot streaks, the fifth and final goal of Belleville’s Saturday was scored by none other than Egor Sokolov - albeit, on an empty net.
Goal #13 for #13— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) May 1, 2021
Egor Sokolov buried a bit of a weird ENG after showing solid patience to ice the win for Belleville. Sokolov picked up a pair of points on Saturday and now has goals in back-to-back games.#GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/VVi1yXjBS3
Toronto did manage to add another goal to their side of the scoresheet but it wasn’t enough. In his first professional start in North America, Søgaard played decently well. His massive frame definitely doesn’t hurt but his positioning and handling of rebounds was impressive for my first full viewing of the big Dane. Søgaard stopped 24 of 27 shots for a 0.888 SV%.
On Sunday, Belleville was back at the Coca Cola Coliseum for another bout with the Marlies. With the goaltending situation continuing to be in flux, Søgaard was given his second straight start on the second game of a back-to-back - something Head Coach Troy Mann hasn’t been afraid to do in the past with goalies like Marcus Högberg and Joey Daccord.
Saturday’s match was a more convincing win, with Belleville scoring all four of their goals in the first period. Rookie star Angus Crookshank got this one started with a goal thanks to the two Logans.
Angus Crookshank's third of the season got Belleville started on Sunday - he's got 12 points in 13GP— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) May 2, 2021
Logan Brown picks up another assist, giving him at least one helper in 4 of his last 5GP#GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/ocC5RfjueI
Just a few minutes later, the Marlies tied things up which sparked Belleville’s three unanswered first period markers from Parker Kelly, Joseph LaBate and Cole Cassels. The game winner, scored by Kelly, was the first of two back-to-back shorthanded goals. LaBate, who scored his sixth of the season, found the back of the net just a minute and fifteen seconds after Kelly on the same penalty kill.
Cassels’ goal, his first of the year, sealed the 4-1 victory for Belleville and marked Søgaard’s second AHL win in as many games. Slightly more busy than his first game, Søgaard stopped 29 of 30 attempts for 0.967 SV%.
Of course we kick this section off with the star of the weekend. While his save percentage on Saturday doesn’t exactly jumped off the page, he stopped 53 of 57 shots in two games for a 0.930 SV% on the weekend. The only goal he allowed on Sunday was a point shot through traffic on the powerplay. He was otherwise perfect.
Although he started the season slow from a production standpoint, Beaudin was a huge difference maker against Toronto this weekend. He scored twice on Saturday and added two helpers on Sunday for four points in two games.
Brown, who returned from injury on April 17th, had an assist in each game against the Marlies this weekend, which gives him four assists in his six games since returning. Belleville’s puck movement on the powerplay has been noticeably better since bringing Brown back as well.
Kelly scored the game winner on Sunday but was also instrumental in his own zone. With Formenton in Ottawa, Kelly has been relied upon further on the penalty kill and was solid in this role against the Marlies.
Thomson had two assists this weekend, giving him four assists in his last five outings with the BSens.
The Penalty Kill
Belleville allowed one powerplay goal on 11 attempts this weekend for a 91% success rate.
The Power Play
Belleville went 0 for 7 against Toronto with the man advantage. While there were some solid opportunities, they were unable to capitalize.
Once again, I have nothing to write here. Overall, Belleville was really good this weekend and while their powerplay efforts could have been better, there is absolutely nothing ugly about back-to-back wins against your rivals down the 401.
The BSens will be finishing their season at home, with their final six games to be played at the Canadian Tire Centre. Both Ridley Greig and Roby Järventie are expected to join Belleville down the stretch once their respective quarantine periods are up.
Belleville and Manitoba start a four game series tonight at 7pm EST.