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Belleville Wins Two of Three

The Belleville Senators won two of three divisional matchups this week in a set of impressive, shorthanded performances.

Belleville’s injury list has been barely reduced and yet they were still able to string together some important points against Toronto and Laval this past week. The likes of Ridly Greig and Viktor Lodin returned to the lineup recently - although Lodin is out once again after a blindside hit from Adam Gaudette on Friday.

The week started off against the Marlies on Wednesday night, with Belleville’s steady Antoine Bibeau minding the net. While Toronto were the first team on the board, Belleville had the last laugh in their 4-2 victory in the big smoke. Your goal scorers were Lodin, Brennan Saulnier, Angus Crookshank and Jake Lucchini (empty net).

Next up we saw Belleville head to Quebec for a back-to-back with the Laval Rocket. The Rocket, currently the basement dweller in the North, gave Belleville a pretty decent matchup on Friday night, as they only allowed Rourke Chartier to score in an eventual 2-1 shootout victory for Belleville.

Personally, my favourite part of the night was when the arena was filling with booing as Egor Sokolov made his way in for his shootout attempt. Sokolov buried the game winner five hole and gave the crowd quite the look in celebration.

The star of the match for me, however, was Mads Søgaard who returned from injury and was a brick wall for the good guys at Place Bell. He posted a 0.970 SV% in his first start since November 11th.

On Saturday, the BSens got right back at it against the Rocket looking to sweep their weekend series. Unfortunately, it appear the team had run out of steam early on in this one as they gave Laval a 3-0 lead in the first seven minutes. In fact, by the end of the first period, it was 5-1 for Laval with Crookshank as Belleville’s lone goal scorer. I don’t know about you, but there isn’t much hope for any team coming back from a 5-1 first period deficit and the BSens were unable to pull off some Disney style sports movie drama as they eventually fell 7-4.

Weekly Notes

  • As mentioned, Mads Søgaard was fantastic this week. Not only did he post a 0.970 SV% against Laval on Friday but he came back into the net on Saturday in relief of Bibeau who allowed 5 goals on 14 shots in the first period. Once Søgaard was in the net, Belleville was back in the game as the Danish netminder stopped 20 of the 21 shots he faced on Saturday.
  • Ridly Greig returned to the lineup after missing three weeks with an injury. While he didn’t find his way on the scoresheet, his line with Egor Sokolov and Angus Crookshank was one of my favourites. They got a lot done, were hard to play against and played with speed. If this trio gets an extended look, I’d start to expect big things.
  • Some fans were a bit surprised to see the Rourke Chartier recall this week but it was absolutely well deserved. Throughout the season, Chartier has been Belleville’s most consistent producer, with 14 goals in 24 games to date. On top of that, he plays a defensively responsible, well rounded game for Troy Mann and I’m certain that information was shared with the front office before a decision was made. I know we all want to see Crookshank, Greig or Sokolov up, but make no mistake here: Chartier has been one of Belleville’s best and earned every minute of ice time in yesterday’s win against Anaheim.
  • Angus Crookshank had a pair of goals and added an assist to his production this week. With Tyler Motte likely out and Mathieu Joseph already out, I’d think this left shot winger is likely on the tip of Pierre Dorion’s tongue when figuring out who to call up next. Crookshank does, however, struggle away from the puck so it’s possible we see someone with more professional experience like Jake Lucchini up before Crookshank.
  • Maxence Guénette continues to fill the shoes of missing right shot defenders in Belleville as he added four assists to his resume this week - two against Toronto, two on Saturday against Laval. He now has two goals and eleven assists in his last 16 games.