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Belleville Drops Two Straight

After a hot start to 2023, the Belleville Senators lost their games against the Cleveland Monsters and Manitoba Moose this weekend.

As the old saying goes, all good things come to an end.

After winning their first three games of the calendar year, the Belleville Senators were back in action this past weekend and the outcome wasn’t quite what they were looking for. They kicked off the weekend with a very close loss to their division rivals from Cleveland before turning around and dropping their Saturday matchup with the Manitoba Moose.

On Friday, with the Monsters in town, virtually everything about this game was as close as it could be. Both teams were given five opportunities on the powerplay, the Monsters had 29 shots to Belleville’s 33 and the game was decided by just one goal. This game was the definition of a nailbiter.

After an opening period which featured no scoring, it was the Monsters who got on the board first with Josh Dunne recording his seventh of the season, a powerplay marker at the tail end of a Cole Reinhardt tripping penalty. Early in the third, Scott Sabourin (yes, Scott Sabourin. Again.) knotted things at one with this sneaky little backhander.

Unfortunately, later in the third Dunne found himself back on the scoresheet, this time with a shorthanded tally which ended up deciding the game.

Saturday’s game had a much different vibe. While the final score was only a two goal deficit, with the Moose winning 4-2, it certainly wasn’t the tight matchup the BSens found themselves in on Friday. But all you have to do is look at the scoresheet to know that, as Manitoba scored the first four goals of the game. It wasn’t until almost 50 minutes of game play had passed before Angus Crookshank finally got the home team on the board with his eleventh, courtesy of Cole Cassels.

With just three minutes to go, Ridly Greig continued his strong 2023 play by burying his 12th. As you know, it was far too little, far too late.

Coming up Belleville has a crucial week of games with three on the calendar. Two of which will be against the Toronto Marlies. While the Marlies sit at the top of the North Division, 17 points ahead of Belleville and well out of reach, if Belleville plans to make the playoffs, it’s likely they’ll be in a position to face Toronto early - maybe even in the first round. Showing they can play against the top team will be a huge confidence boost for this young club.

Weekly Notes

  • Angus Crookshank found himself back in the goal column for his second in the last four games. It’s been a slow few weeks for Crookshank as 18 of his 20 points thus far came in the first 26 games of the season. He’s recorded just two points in his last ten.
  • AHL All Star Egor Sokolov recorded an assist this week. While he hasn’t been going on large streaks, he’s the definition of consistency so far. His longest stretch without registering a point is just two games, and that came back in October. It’s basically been a guarantee for our favourite teddy bear that if he doesn’t get a goal or an assist one game, he will the next.
  • Speaking of consistency, Ridly Greig continues to get after it. During Friday’s 2-1 loss to Cleveland, he was finally held off the scoresheet after registering six goals and three assists during a five game point streak. But, of course, on Saturday he got right back to it and netted his 12th of the year. The AHL rookie has 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points in 25 games played thus far.
  • Jacob Bernard-Docker, who was recalled by Ottawa following an Artem Zub injury, has been playing heavy minutes for Troy Mann since going back to Belleville. Whenever the coach can, he’s got JBD out against the top players and it shows. His ability to close the gap, get in lanes, and make a safe play to get the puck out has been a key reason Belleville’s been playing consistently better hockey in January.
  • Mads Søgaard started in both games this weekend, posting a 0.931 SV% on Friday before a bit of a flub on Saturday, with a 0.826 SV%. The Great Dane™ has a 0.904 SV% on the season and the BSens are currently 5-8-1 with him between the pipes.
  • Cole Cassels has been quietly on a heater in the last few games, compiling one assist per game for the last four straight games. This comes after only recording 7 assists through his first 24. The BSens alternate captain does a lot of things right in his own zone and plays with intensity, it’s great to see him get rewarded on the scoresheet.