Well, it’s a new year for the Belleville Senators and they’ll be looking to forget the final few games of last year as they didn’t manage to bring home any wins in their three games last week.
On Wednesday, the BSens welcomed the Marlies to CAA Arena for a rematch of their Boxing Day overtime loss. While this one was just as close in terms of level of play, the Marlies were able to walk away with a 4-2 win, thanks to Joseph Woll’s 36 save performance. Toronto went out ahead with a 3-0 lead through the first half of the game. It took Belleville until later in the second frame to finally get themselves on the board with a Jarid Lukosevicius’s sixth of the year.
Scott Sabourin managed to get another for Belleville but it was too little, too late for the hometown team.
After taking on the top team in the North for two straight games, Belleville got to meet up with Rochester who happens to be right behind Toronto sitting second in the North. As one would assume, it wasn’t an easy game for the last place BSens and the Amerks gave them everything they could. For the first time in what felt like an eternity, Belleville got on the board first with Ridly Greig’s first of the game.
Back to familiarity from the last few weeks, Rochester scored three unanswered and silenced most of the hope Belleville had in taking two points from one of the better teams in the division. Greig did manage a second goal, as I’m sure you guessed, while Jonathan Aspirot potted his first since returning from injury just a few weeks ago.
After three straight losses, Belleville headed off to Utica for a battle with the Comets to try to end 2022 on a high note. Leaving absolutely everything on the ice, the club did manage to bring home one point as they took Utica to extra time.
In the first frame, the teams exchanged chances and it felt like Belleville was on track. That was until Utica scored back to back goals in a two minute span at the end of the first, absolutely breaking the backs of the BSens and setting them up for a tough second period. Early in the second, Joe Carroll got the team on the board with his second since signing his PTO. This gave Belleville life, you could see it on the bench and feel it in their play. Former BSens Zach Senyshyn poured some water on that fire six minutes later with his fourth of the year, re-establishing Utica’s two goal lead.
Enter Ridly Greig.
In the third period, the 2020 first round pick potted another pair of goals - giving him four in the final two games of the year.
This was enough to get Belleville to overtime but, unfortunately, it took Utica less than two minutes to finish this one and sending the BSens packing with just one point.
- Ridly Greig. What can you say about his week this week? If it weren’t for the rookie, Belleville would’ve have four fewer goals and no points in the standings. Not only did he score four goals, he added 13 shots. This was a week that you hope Greig will replicate in 2023.
- Jarid Lukosevicius had a big week, particularly for a player not known for his scoring. He has just nine points in 21 games but 3 of them came in the final two games of 2022. Luko isn’t particularly big but his speed on effort on the forecheck has been noticeable. If he can continue to provide some secondary scoring, he’ll be an important piece down the stretch.
- Jonathan Aspirot has been back with Belleville for just four games since starting the season on the injured reserve. This week, he potted a goal and added an assist, showing that the rust is gone and he’s ready to rock.
- To say goaltending was an issue this week is an understatement. With Mads Søgaard seeing two starts and Antoine Bibeau getting the other, the tandem provided a 0.862 SV% for their team. They didn’t exactly have a fantastic performance in front of them but this team desperately needed a goalie to steal them a game and neither were able to.
- Angus Crookshank has, over the past few games, disappeared from the scoresheet. The New Hampshire grad hasn’t found the back of the net - or helped anyone else to do so - in five games. Belleville will need him to get back on track if they hope to salvage this season.
- While the BSens do sit in last place in the North, they’re one win from leaping over two teams to sit fifth, two wins from fourth and four wins from third. They’re down but they’re certainly not out. Remember, in the AHL, the only teams that matter for the playoffs are within your division. Belleville just needs to get to fourth to punch their ticket to the big dance. The difference between last and fourth is just three points.