Heading into this weekend, the Belleville Senators had a tough task ahead of them. The team had not one, not two but three games between Friday and Monday and all of them were against the Laval Rocket. It’s tough enough to play three games in four days but the playoff implications made this weekend even more important; with Laval sitting ahead of Belleville in the battle for the North Division’s final playoff spot.
The fortunate bit of news here is that Belleville managed to win two of three games in this series; something that the team has had a tough time stringing together over the past few months. The less fortunate bit is that one of those wins came in extra time, so while Belleville walked away with four points, Laval still managed three themselves.
The weekend kicked off with a 5-3 victory for the good guys. The game started off on a rough note, with Laval getting on the board with the first two tallies of the evening. The Rocket lead didn’t last long, though, as the BSens managed two of their own later in the second frame to take a 2-2 tie into the locker room.
About halfway through the third, Angus Crookshank and Jacob Bernard-Docker found the back of the night just 90 seconds apart to open up a 4-2 lead and Belleville never looked back.
Saulnier's strong forecheck leads to a second Crooker tally on the night #ForTheB https://t.co/1TSDAqeYXK pic.twitter.com/j9xXd3GS65— Belleville Senators (@BellevilleSens) February 18, 2023
On Saturday night, a little extra hockey was required to get this one done. Belleville turned to Antoine Bibeau between the pipes after a 0.914 SV% performance on Friday night. Belleville once again started the game a little behind the eight ball. While Egor Sokolov buried his 14th of the year to open the scoring, Laval added three of their own goals all in the first period; including a pair just 11 seconds apart.
The part of hero was actually played by two players for your Belleville Senators. First was Roby Järventie. The young Finn got Belleville back in the game early in the second period with this one from in close.
Rhino ➡️ Crooker ➡️ Roby #ForTheB https://t.co/MtRMW4MM2S pic.twitter.com/3wWwbVPZx0— Belleville Senators (@BellevilleSens) February 19, 2023
Later in the game, with Belleville looking for the equalizer, Järventie was at it again, burying his fifth of the year to force extra time. Then in overtime, our second hero got to work. After already scoring shorthanded in the second period, Jake Lucchini called game just over two minutes into extra time.
Jake Lucchini's heroic OT-winning goal over Laval Saturday night topped off our #HighlightoftheWeek‼️#ForTheB pic.twitter.com/c1eJDSRosk— Belleville Senators (@BellevilleSens) February 21, 2023
After back-to-back wins, Belleville had Sunday off before hosting Laval for a third game on Monday afternoon. Unfortunately for the BSens, Järventie’s two goals on Monday were the only they’d score while they surrendered a total of seven for their only loss of the weekend.
- With Mads Søgaard and Kevin Mandolese busy in Ottawa, Antoine Bibeau got the bulk of playing time this weekend. He started both Friday and Saturday and then came into the game to relieve Logan Flodell on Monday, totalling over 120 minutes of playing time through four days. In that time, Bibeau faced 70 shots, allowing 10 goals for an 0.857 SV%.
- After a lengthy injury recovery, Roby Järventie had what appeared to be his welcome back party to the AHL this weekend. He has struggled to produce early on but he managed four goals and an assist in his three games this weekend.
- Angus Crookshank continued his recent tear this week, as well. His two goals and two assists bring him to six goals and three assists in his last seven games.
- Your third offensive star of the week goes to Jake Lucchini who played hero in overtime on Saturday and tallied a pair of goals and four assists in this weekend’s series against the Rocket. The AHL veteran now has 36 points in his last 39 games on the year.
- On the backend, Ottawa’s two top right shot defensive prospects got themselves on the scoresheet this weekend as well. Jacob Bernard-Docker scored his first of the year while Lassi Thomson had a pair of assists.
- Mark Kastelic has been back with Belleville for six games now, playing big first line minutes, trusted in all situations and contributing four assists in the process. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back with Ottawa depending on what happens at the trade deadline; particularly if he continues playing as well as he did this weekend.