This weekend, the Belleville Senators took half of the possible points going 1-1-1 against Hartford (Fri), Providence (Sat) and Springfield (Sun). For me, there was one big takeaway from this weekend.
For Filip Chlapik, it’s not a matter of “if” he becomes a major scorer at the AHL level, it’s “when”. Over the weekend, Chlapik compiled 9 shots and 2 assists and seemed to make things happen whenever he was on the ice. In Sunday’s game against Springfield, it seemed Chlapik was determined to finally score his first professional goal as 6 of this weekend’s 9 shots on goal came against the Thunderbirds. I have a feeling that once Chlapik buries his first, the next ten will come quickly.
To the recap(s)!
Friday, October 20 - Belleville 5, Hartford 1
Friday night was a good night for the scoresheet as Belleville had five different goal scorers and nine players register at least one point.
Jack Rodewald opened the scoring by burying a rebound off of a Christian Jaros point shot less than five minutes into the game. Less than a minute later, former Senators prospect Cole Schneider was left all alone in front of the net and capitalized with a backhand shot. Gabriel Gagne tipped in the game winner which was the highlight of the game for him. He’s made his way onto the scoresheet a few times which has been nice to see but still has a long way to go to become the impact player we expect from someone with his massive frame and strong shot.
In the second period, Jaros shot an absolute bullet past Hartford’s Chris Nell to extend the lead. Max Reinhart and Tyler Randell piled on in the third period for the 5-1 win.
Danny Taylor: Backstopping a relatively undisciplined Belleville team is a tall order and Taylor came to play on Friday. Taylor stopped 34 of 35 shots and went six for six on the penalty kill. While any team is likely to win a game in which they score five times, it would’ve been a much closer game if not for Taylor’s play.
Christian Jaros: I’m going to have to start looking for reasons to not include Jaros in this category. He’s not going to blow you away with fancy stick work or end to end rushes but he consistently plays a solid defensive game. As with any young defensive prospect, there are some positioning issues Jaros will need to round out but I would be surprised if he isn’t a stable third pairing player for Ottawa very soon - and every team needs those.
Filip Chlapik: I know, I know. We’ve already talked about him but he was very good on Friday, especially on the power play. This was the only game this weekend where Chlapik didn’t get a point but his creativity with the puck was on display.
You can catch the highlights from this game here.
Saturday, October 21 - Providence 3, Belleville 2 (SO)
It’s unfortunate that this game didn’t go another way mostly because it was Belleville’s most disciplined of the season. The Senators only gave their opponent four chances with the man advantage and managed to be perfect on the penalty kill again - even though they spent about a minute on the 5-on-3.
Ethan Werek opened the scoring by redirecting a Chabot point shot on the power play. This shot was made possible with a nice pass to the point by Chlapik. These two rookies are fun to watch on the man advantage. Jack Rodewald extended Belleville’s lead to 2-0 for his second goal of the weekend by burying a Max McCormick pass upstairs. Unfortunately, just like with the big club in Ottawa, no lead is safe.
Providence scored two goals in the third to force extra time. After a semi-eventful overtime period, the two teams needed a shootout to decide the fate of this one. Unfortunately, just like the big club in Ottawa (starting to see a trend?), the shootout was not friendly to the Senators. Providence’s third shooter, Jordan Szwarz, scored a nifty goal to take this game 3-2.
Andrew Hammond: I honestly don’t know where Belleville would be without their goaltending. It’s very possible they’d still be searching for their first franchise point. The Hamburglar stopped 39 of 41 shots through 65 minutes of hockey, doing everything he could to bring home two points for his team.
Francis Perron: For those that don’t know, Perron had the flu and missed a couple games last weekend. I think he played his best hockey of the season on Saturday night. He didn’t make it on the scoresheet but #27 was all over the ice making smart plays and getting chances. I’d love to see him shoot the puck more as he only has six shots on net in five games.
Christian Jaros: Hello? Is this thing on?
You can find the highlights from Saturdays game here.
Sunday, October 22 - Springfield 7, Belleville 4
I know what you’re thinking. Seven goals against? This is what I meant above when I said I didn’t know where Belleville would be without their goaltending. Taylor allowed 7 goals on 38 shots for a less-than-ideal 0.816 SV%. Look, it’s not all Taylor’s fault. Belleville got back to their undisciplined ways allowing their opponent seven attempts with the man advantage and Springfield took full advantage by scoring three times.
The first two goals of the game were tough on the goaltenders. Springfield’s Anthony Grecco opened the scoring by redirecting a nice feed past Taylor’s glove. Two minutes later, Daniel Ciampini redirected an Erik Burgdoerfer slapper past Springfield’s Evan Cowley to even the score. Springfield scored on the power play to take the lead late into the first. About four minutes into the second, Burgdoerfer would get his name on the scoresheet again with a rocket of a wrist shot that beat Cowley cleanly up high. Then came the penalties...
Springfield scored two more power play goals in the second period and added one at even strength to take a commanding 5-2 lead and Belleville never recovered. There were a few bright spots (below) but three games in three days likely took its toll on the team.
Filip Chlapik: *record scratch* Chlapik was easily Belleville’s best player and, despite not burying any of his chances, may have been the best player for either team on Sunday afternoon. He tallied an assist, six shots on net and at least two jaw dropping rushes. At one point, Chlapik deked through the entire Springfield team, came inches from scoring and drew a penalty. The goals are coming, I just know it.
Erik Burgdoerfer: I don’t necessarily think Burgdoerfer was amazing or had a noticeable impact throughout the game but a goal and an assist early on was important to keep Belleville in this one. At the AHL level, he can eat minutes and play well enough to not cause too much trouble for his own team - which is an important role over a long season.
Andreas Englund: I’m including Englund here mostly because there weren’t very many stars of the game on Sunday. He didn’t wow anyone with his play but was responsible in his own zone, positionally sound and successfully moved the puck up ice a number of times.
Here are the highlights from Belleville’s 7-4 loss.
With injuries to Bobby Ryan, Zack Smith and Colin White and Logan Brown being returned to Windsor, there are a likely many members of the BSens who will make their season or career debuts this year. Pierre Dorion, Randy Lee & co. made another player a possibility for re-call by signing Jack Rodewald to an entry-level contract yesterday. Rodewald had been playing on an AHL contract thus far while being one of Belleville’s more consistent producers. This entry-level contract was certainly earned.
The unfortunate thing for Ottawa is most of their injuries are coming at the forward position and most of Belleville’s depth is on the blueline. The good news for Belleville Senators fans is the longer Ottawa’s blueline stays healthy, the longer we get to watch Chabot and Jaros wear the best jerseys in the organization.
I hope these weekly recaps give you a glimpse of what to expect when players get called up.
If there’s anything else you’d like to see from me, please let me know in the comments!