Back to Earth for Belleville

The Belleville Senators were brought back down to earth this week as they suffered back-to-back losses to the Toronto Marlies before a solid Family Day win on Monday afternoon.

I want to take this moment to apologize for being the sole reason Belleville lost both of their games against Toronto this past weekend. In a moment of jest, I mentioned the following to Ary:

Needless to say, life is weird and hockey is dumb.

But seriously, with Christian Wolanin’s addition to the blueline and the BSens rolling, it only made sense that the hockey universe would send the BSens a message that it won’t be that easy. In the long run, hopefully it serves as a reminder to a red hot team that they need to come in and work every game, regardless of their recent successes.

Friday, February 14 - Toronto 4, Belleville 2

Here are the highlights.

  • Joey Daccord was given the Valentine’s Day nod, stopping 29 of 33 shots on net for one of his worse performances in recent memory.
  • Vitaly Abramov showed up to play with a goal and an assist bringing him to four points in his previous four games, after being absent on the scoresheet for 10 games.
  • Jack Dougherty added the other goal.
  • In Christian Wolanin’s first game back, he opted to get in a fight to prove to his teammates he was there to play - a move I don’t particularly support given his medical history this season./

Saturday. February 15 - Toronto 7, Belleville 6 (OT)

Here are the highlights.

  • Belleville turned to Filip Gustavsson who allowed seven goals on 28 shots (0.750 SV%).
  • Josh Norris (1G, 1A), Jordan Szwarz (2G, 1A), Alex Formenton (2A) and Jordan Murray (3A) all had multi-point performances.
  • Belleville had a 4-0 lead in the first period in what appeared to be a statement game after getting outplayed by Toronto the night before.
  • Toronto scored three third period markers before Egor Korshkov completed the Marlies comeback early in the extra frame./

Monday, February 17 - Belleville 5, Syracuse 2

Here are the highlights.

  • Daccord saw the crease again, bouncing back with a solid performance in the Family Day win.
  • Rudolfs Balcers had a goal and an assist, bringing his season total to 32 points in 30 AHL games.
  • Szwarz built on his Saturday performance with two assists.
  • Norris compiled a pair of goals and an assist in the win, bringing his season total to 1.10 points per game./

Roster News & Notes

An incredibly underrated Belleville follow on Twitter is David Foot. If you don’t follow him yet, you definitely should! It’s ok, I’ll wait for you to jump over to his page and smash that follow button. Good? Good.

In the above thread, Foot dives into a number of topics. Most notably surrounding Max Lajoie. The defender who surprised everyone by playing the bulk of last year in the NHL was the recipient of a healthy scratch on Monday afternoon. In support of Mann, he has a lot of defenders to get into the lineup with Wolanin back in Belleville. On the left side, he also has Brannstrom who’s a lock for a roster spot and Murray, who’s having himself a career year on the scoresheet. One of Lajoie’s strengths comes from his work on the powerplay but as coaches are moving towards the 4F-1D format, it’s tough to put Lajoie into the lineup based solely on that when you have Wolanin, Brannstrom and Murray to fill that void. Unfortunately, it looks like Lajoie is getting squeezed out of the lineup and, frankly, his play this year makes it a deserving repercussion at this point.

Foot also had an update on Logan Brown’s injury.

If you’ve followed Brown’s career closely, the timeline sounds great but the worrisome part is related to the injury itself. Brown suffered a wrist injury - a recurring theme that dates back to his days with the Windsor Spitfires. He also missed time earlier this year due to a wrist injury. My guess would be that this wrist injury is the same one from earlier this season and Belleville wants to ensure Brown is as close to 100% as possible down the stretch.

Deadline Looming

With the trade deadline in sight, and one piece already off the board, expect the Ottawa Senators to be busy which, in turn, will likely have some impact on the BSens. The good news for BSens fans is that Ottawa picked up Jayce Hawryluk off waivers earlier this week - which Shaan did a great job of covering. This means that one less forward will be required from Belleville while Ottawa mixes things up and sheds a few veteran contracts.

If I were a betting man, I’d expect only one or two of Belleville’s regulars to see extended stints with the big club to finish out the year. Players like Filip Chlapik or JC Beaudin feel more likely but don’t be surprised if someone like Morgan Klimchuk, Michael Carcone or even the captain Szwarz get a few games as rewards for being solid veterans.

If we end up seeing any of the young prospects recalled, it’ll likely be for a game or two to get a taste before heading back to Belleville for the hopefully deep playoff run. The obvious candidates there are Norris and Formenton.

If the Twitter reaction to the Dylan DeMelo trade is any indication, it’s about to get really interesting around here. Don’t forget to stop by for trade announcements and reaction pieces from the awesome Silver Seven team.

I expect we’ll be hard at work over the next few days...

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