The playoff race in the North Division is in absolute gridlock right now as the difference in win percentage between 2nd and 6th is a mere 0.04. At this point, the teams that make it are anyones guess and every point matters.
This week’s BSens action kicked off with a meeting with the Laval Rocket - with both teams in the thick of the playoff race. With important points on the line, Belleville brought it in the shots department, throwing 43 pucks at Laval’s net through sixty minutes. Belleville’s lone goal scorer of the night was Clark Bishop, who buried his third of the season a mere minutes after former Senator Cedric Paquette opened the scoring for the Rocket.
This one required extra time and extra work, in particular, from Mads Søgaard as the Rocket kept him busy in the shootout. Luckily for Belleville, the Great Dane™ was perfect in the shootout while both Jake Lucchini and Egor Sokolov were successful in their attempts.
Lucchini sets it up... pic.twitter.com/Dezn3aImww— Belleville Senators (@BellevilleSens) March 24, 2022
...and Sokolov seals the deal pic.twitter.com/eTXkZzqvVC— Belleville Senators (@BellevilleSens) March 24, 2022
Søgaard made 29 saves for a stellar 0.967 SV% as the good guys picked up two points.
On Friday night, Belleville was visited by the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins for an inter-division clash with a similarly performing team from the Atlantic. Head Coach Troy Mann went right back to Søgaard for the start, and the Pens sure kept him busy.
After a scoreless first, Valtteri Puustinen managed to break the deadlock for his Pens with an even strength tally. Cole Reinhardt continued his strong play as of late by setting up the captain Logan Shaw for the game tying goal shortly after. Unfortunately for our dear readers, that was the only goal Belleville would score while the Penguins put two more across the goal line for a 3-1 final score.
While Ottawa went toe to toe in a packed Canadian Tire Centre against one of the leagues best clubs, there was excitement and drama just down the highway as well.
With the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in town, the team once again turned to Søgaard, who posted a 0.949 SV% through his previous two starts this week. While the Phantoms got on the board first, and actually had a two goal lead, Belleville wasn’t about to go down without a fight. About halfway through the second, Parker Kelly got the party started with his fifth of the year which was closely followed by yet another Lucchini marker to even things up.
With no action in the third or overtime, Belleville were off to a shootout for the second time in three games. At this point, it became a goalie showdown. With Søgaard in one end and Pat Nagle in the other, neither goalie allowed a goal on their first five shots. For Belleville, none of Lucchini, Sokolov, Zach Senyshyn or Roby Järventie were able to solve the 34 year old veteran.
Finally, you guessed it, Reinhardt played hero while Søgaard remained perfect and Belleville grabbed another vital pair of points.
- Cole Reinhardt was once again fantastic this week. There are still aspects of his game that leave him lower on the recall list but if he continues this kind of play over a substantial period of time, he could see himself climb that ladder.
- Mads Søgaard? He was lights out this week, earning a recall to Ottawa immediately following. He paired a 1.60 GAA with a 0.946 SV% and nobody is upset about that.
- Parker Kelly had a goal and an assist through three games as he continues his expectedly excellent play following his reassignment to the AHL before the trade deadline.
- Speaking of the trade deadline, Zach Senyshyn suited up for his first three games as a Belleville Senator this week. On Saturday, we collected his first point while wearing the B and he became more noticeable as he started to settle into the lineup in his third game.
- Like Kelly, Jake Lucchini had a goal and an assist this week. He also went one for two in the shootout, helping his team beat Laval on Wednesday.