The Belleville Senators had another successful pair of games this weekend, making them winners in seven of their last ten games. While they still sit outside the playoff picture, it’s not entirely out of the question for them to make a play for the final spot in the North if they continue to play this strong brand of hockey.
The first game of the weekend featured former Senator Buddy Robinson and the Rockford Hogs. The game didn’t really open up until late in the first period when Bobby Lynch grabbed his eighth of the year to give the Hogs a 1-0 lead. Fortunately for the home crowd, Belleville kicked off the second period with an early strike courtesy of John Quenneville on the powerplay.
Johnny on the spot #ForTheB https://t.co/k9tgsl4fLE pic.twitter.com/C2InpJ7cmR— Belleville Senators (@BellevilleSens) March 4, 2023
With the two teams knotted at a goal each heading into the final frame, you’d think by looking at the final score that the third period was a dominant one from Belleville’s perspective. While they scored three times, two of them were into the empty net in the final two minutes of the game. This one was still a barn burner throughout, but Angus Crookshank’s 20th of the year early in the final period was the game winner.
Aspo with the strong forecheck sets up Crooker in his office #ForTheB https://t.co/cWJnQs4tbV pic.twitter.com/uIIoVjkEK9— Belleville Senators (@BellevilleSens) March 4, 2023
Saturday night’s contest had far greater implications than Belleville’s matchup with an out-of-division opponent on Friday. With Rochester in town, the BSens had a tall task ahead of them to take an important pair of points from the team currently sitting in the final spot in the North. The good news is, the good guys were successful in pulling off a regulation win.
Opening the scoring, once again, was Crookshank, this time on the powerplay courtesy of some great puck movement from the top unit.
36 with the silky mitts #ForTheB https://t.co/ESBQjuVHbB pic.twitter.com/6RH0ae5rwl— Belleville Senators (@BellevilleSens) March 5, 2023
Early in the second, Matthew Boucher (no relation), grabbed his fifth of the year to give Belleville a slight amount of comfort with a two goal lead. Less than a minute later, however, the seats on the Belleville bench got hot as Rochester fired back to bring themselves within a goal.
Not long after, it was Jarid Lukosevicius playing hero by re-establishing Belleville’s two goal lead, with assists going to Quennveille and Jacob Larsson.
Gotta celly hard for sniping in your 150th game #ForTheB https://t.co/eeFo1DA961 pic.twitter.com/cdVM8RbJ9K— Belleville Senators (@BellevilleSens) March 5, 2023
While Rochester was able to make things close again before the second period closed, there was no scoring in the third and Belleville took home the win by a score of 3-2.
- A big part of Belleville’s success this weekend came from solid goaltending. On Friday, Kevin Mandolese stopped all but one of the 33 shots he faced for a casual 0.970 SV%. On Saturday, while the stats weren’t as favourable for the newly signed Dylan Ferguson, he still stood tall and made some timely saves to go along with his 0.909 SV%.
- Angus Crookshank has caught fire at the right time. It’s still a long shot for Belleville to climb their way into a playoff spot but, in order to do so, players like Crookshank will have to continue the work they’re doing. Crooker had two goals and an assist this weekend, snapping a four game pointless streak.
- Egor Sokolov had a goal and an assist this weekend, giving him three goals and two assists over his last four games.
- Cole Reinhardt is a player I haven’t done a great job of talking enough about. He had a pair of assists in Belleville’s win against Rockford on Saturday, which gave him two goals and five assists in an eight game span.
- John Quenneville joined Crookshank in heating up at the right time, also snapping a four game pointless streak with a goal and two assists of his own.
- Belleville has two more divisional games coming up this week against Laval (5th in the North) and Utica (2nd). A pair of wins would help them move into that 5th place spot, provided Laval doesn’t grab any points of their own in other matchups.