It feels like every week I write these recaps, I either get to share the good news or deliver the bad. The Belleville Senators either have a fantastic week or drop an absolute dud. Unfortunately, this week it’s (once again) the latter.
After starting 2023 on a three game winning streak, the BSens have gone on a five game losing streak - including dropping two back-to-back games against division rivals. On Wednesday, the Toronto Marlies came to town for the first of two games at CAA Arena.
With Kevin Mandolese between the pipes, Belleville got to work by opening the scoring on an Angus Crookshank powerplay marker.
Joseph Blandisi ruined the party for the home team in the dying seconds of the period with his tenth of the year, knotting the teams back up before intermission. Opening the second, Cole Cassels picked up his fourth of the year - and his second point of the game - on this play that felt like it was occurring in slow motion.
The two teams exchanged a number of goals in the second period, with Toronto heading into their room with the lead after forty. Early in the third, the Marlies added what should have been a back breaking goal to bring their lead to 5-3. Luckily for the BSens, Matthew Boucher said “not today” and added not one but two goals later in the third period to force extra time. While Belleville guaranteed themselves a point, they weren’t able to capture the second as Toronto took this one in a shootout.
On Friday, Belleville went with Mandolese again with Mads Søgaard sidelined. While Belleville once again played well in this one, the tight fought match ended with another Toronto win. Cole Reinhardt, Egor Sokolov and Jacob Larsson were the goalscorers, while Cole Cassels found himself on the scoresheet again with a pair of assists.
For the final game of the week, Belleville hosted Troy Mann’s former team from Hershey for another hard fought battle. In this one, Belleville got out to the lead in the second period. While the first was sleepy, the second period was the look of a team that wasn’t coming off a game the night before. Belleville’s first marker came courtesy of the red hot Scott Sabourin, who set a new career high in goals with 13. Cassels, once again, found himself in the assist column. Viktor Lodin added to the lead towards the end of the stanza, with a powerplay tally.
Once the third period started, things fell apart. Five minutes in, Ethen Frank buried his 17th of the season. Four minutes later, Beck Malenstyn got a shorthanded goal. Four minutes after that, Garrett Pilon got in on the action. And, with the net empty, Frank grabbed his 18th. Belleville went from up 2-0 to a 4-2 loss all in the final period.
- It’s tough to watch the team go from 3-0-0 to 3-4-1. Mads Søgaard is currently day-to-day while Jacob Bernard-Docker missed a few games while up with Ottawa, but for the most part the team remained unchanged and still managed to lose five straight.
- Speaking of injuries, Roby Järventie and Lassi Thomson are still listed as week-to-week, although both have been practicing with the team of late. The hope is they’ll be able to return in the next week, maybe two.
- Cole Cassels extended his point streak to seven games with a goal and four assists in three games this weekend. His point streak adds a goal and eight assists to his totals for the year.
- Scott Sabourin had another goal this weekend, giving him 13 on the season. His previous career best was 12, which he managed in his first season with the Manchester Monarchs back in 2013-14. The AHL veteran is currently on pace for 25 goals this year.
- It was a tough week for Kevin Mandolese, who posted a 0.885 SV% through three straight starts. He was a busy guy, facing over 30 shots in each game he played - including 40 in the shootout loss to Toronto on Wednesday.