It was an offense-first, defence-never kind of weekend of the AHL’s Ontario representatives. The good news is there were exceptional performances from the likes of Drake Batherson and Christian Wolanin this weekend. The bad news is the Senators goaltenders got obliterated.
Friday, November 9 - Belleville 7, Toronto 6
It was an exciting night to be a member of the crowd at CAA Arena in Belleville on Friday night as the Senators hosted their rivals from down the highway for the first time this season. Mike Condon, fresh off being waived by the big club, made his AHL debut and the Senators fans in attendance didn’t know it but they were about to see an offensive outburst by both teams.
Just over two minutes into the game, Wolanin kicked things off by ripping a wrist shot short side from the slot. Batherson and Filip Chlapik drew the assists. Timothy Liljegren evened the scored a few minutes later off a slick passing play from the Marlies. Shortly thereafter, Erik Burgdoerfer gave the BSens another lead - making him the third defenceman to score a goal in the first period of this action packed thriller.
The second period started with some bad news for the hometown team, as Toronto scored twice in the first five minutes to obtain their first lead of the game. The Marlies gave Belleville an opportunity to tie things back up with Mason Marchment in the penalty box and the real 6 God Batherson made no mistake. Adam Tambellini fired a hard pass off Batherson’s stick for his second point of the game. The drama continued with Toronto tying regaining the lead less than a minute later on a goal by Frank Corrado. The good news for the BSens is that Batherson wasn’t done.
Towards the end of the second frame, Batherson and Rudolfs Balcers connected on a delightful saucer pass to tie the game up again. Less than a minute later Batherson found Chlapik for another powerplay goal that looked eerily like the one Batherson scored earlier in the frame.
It felt like we were in the twilight zone in the third period as the Marlies opened the period with an early goal and followed it up with another to regain the lead they’d lost twice already. But of course, the feisty Sens were once again not finished. Tambellini tied the game for Belleville about halfway through the third using a Marlies blueliner as a perfect screen. With less than two minutes left, Francois Beauchamin completed the third comeback of the game and iced this one for the home team. Batherson assisted on both goals.
Mike Condon - In an effort to get Condon’s game back, Ottawa sent him down to the AHL to get some playing time. Unfortunately, Condon stood out in all the wrong ways allowing six goals on 23 shots.
Drake Batherson - Drizzy Drake was at it again, amassing a goal and five assists.
Christian Wolanin - Wolanin wasn’t far behind Batherson, as he totalled a goal and four assists in this one.
Here are the highlights.
Saturday, November 10 - Toronto 8, Belleville 2
Earlier I mentioned there were a lot of goals and not a lot of defence played this weekend. The second game of this back-to-back didn’t quite have the same inspirational sports movie style ending as the first one.
The Marlies started the scoring in this one with Josh Jooris and Carl Grundstrom both getting on the scoresheet in the opening frame. Toronto added to their lead seven minutes into the second until Belleville finally found the scoreboard. This time it was... just kidding, it was Batherson again. Andrew Sturtz and Balcers added the assists on this powerplay marker. Any hopes of a Belleville comeback were quickly extinguished as the next four goals were scored by the boys in blue. Andreas Englund did score a goal in the third period but it was far from enough for Belleville to stage a second comeback in as many nights.
Filip Gustavsson - Another night, another pile of goals behind a Belleville goaltender. The blame can definitely be shared with the defenders in front of him but concerns are beginning to arise with Gustavsson’s play early in the season. This will be something to watch.
Drake Batherson - I know.
Andrew Sturtz - Sturtz doesn’t receive the minutes that other forwards do but I think he’s come into his own in the five games he’s played so far. He contributed to Batherson’s powerplay goal and I’ve enjoyed watching his game develop so far. He’s one to keep an eye on as an important depth piece for this team.
Here are the highlights.
The big news out of Ottawa this week was that the enjoyment of watching a player of Batherson’s calibre in a Belleville uniform is, at least temporarily, over. This transaction was following a fantastic start to the season and a massive weekend for the rookie, as he was named the AHL’s player of the week. In similar news, Nick Paul was returned to Belleville and the BSens also recalled goaltender Jake Paterson from Brampton.
We all know that practice lines aren’t etched in stone but if yesterday’s skate remains true, Thursday is definitely a game to tune in for if you’re as excited and intrigued by Batherson as I am.
Tuesday practice lines:— TSN 1200 (@TSN1200) November 13, 2018
Dzingel Duchene Batherson
Tkachuk Tierney Stone
Boedker Smith Ryan
McCormick Pyatt Paajarvi
White and Borowiecki not out for practice.