The Belleville Senators made the trip to Marc Methot’s favourite Canadian city this weekend for a back-to-back with the Manitoba Moose. Being a Western Conference team - and the AHL schedule having very few games outside of the conference - they’re an unfamiliar foe for Belleville. One look at the standings, however, will tell you that Belleville’s still shorthanded roster was in for a battle against the Moose, who were 12-7-3 when this weekend began.
Spoiler, they were 14-7-3 when it ended.
The first game saw a very common occurance for Belleville in the first period; a completely flat start. Head Coach Troy Mann has commented on it on more than one occasion this year and Saturday’s tilt with Manitoba was yet another display of this BSens team putting themselves way behind the eight ball very quickly.
In Manitoba’s decisive 6-2 win, the Moose scored the first five goals of the game - including three goals in the first 12 minutes of the opening period. It wasn’t until halfway through the second period that Belleville finally got themselves on the board with Brennan Saulnier’s third of the year.
Belleville’s too little too late version of a comeback was quickly stymied by the Moose, as they re-established their five goal lead in the opening minute of the third period. Although Ridly Greig was able to score an absolute beauty in the final frame, it was far from enough to save Belleville from their disastrous start.
While Saturday was certainly a rough outing, Sunday saw a Belleville team with more of a bite and effort. Although they still surrendered the first goal, the BSens were able to tally two in the second period courtesy of Egor Sokolov and Matthew Wedman to establish their first lead over the Moose this weekend. For Sokolov, the goal was particular special as it was his 100th career point in the American Hockey League.
Halfway through the third, the Moose evened things up at two and, unfortunately, buried another goal in overtime to take this one 3-2.
- Mads Søgaard got the start on Saturday and, while he was left out to dry a bit, he wasn’t given the opportunity to finish the game. Coach Mann pulled him after allowing four goals on just 13 shots for a 0.692 SV%. Søgaard was, however, given the opportunity to bounce back on Sunday and had a more confidence instilling game, stopping 23 of 26 shots.
- Egor Sokolov potted his 100th career AHL point on Sunday and added an assist as well. Belleville’s star winger is cruising at a point per game altitude in the AHL. It feels like only a matter of time before we see him in Ottawa this year.
- Ridly Greig scored a beautiful goal late in the game on Saturday, bringing his totals to 11 points in 15 games. With his season being broken up by injuries, it’s been great seeing him get back up to speed. I expect his star to continue to rise throughout the rest of this season in Belleville.
- Jayce Hawryluk returned to Belleville’s lineup this week. He didn’t record any points but he is a much welcomed returnee to the team’s shorthanded lineup. Hawryluk last suited up for a game on October 22nd.