The Belleville Senators went into this final series with a franchise record on the line. After winning six games in a row, the BSens needed one more to set a new record, and they would go on to do so in the opening game against the Marlies.
Just five minutes into the opening frame, Joseph LaBate and JC Beaudin scored goals 30 seconds apart to kick-start a high scoring affair. Just five minutes later, Egor Sokolov secured his 15th of the season on a play we’ve grown familiar with. Sokolov was in the right position, picked up a lose puck and blasted it into the back of the net.
🚨Egor Sokolov scores 15th of the season in game #34— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) May 20, 2021
Sokolov became the first BSens player to hit double digits in both goals & assists this year with his 10th assist earlier in the game #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/Nh02mGnjsq
Still in the first period, Clark Bishop added to the fun with his second goal in six AHL games. While Toronto was able to score four of their own, it wasn’t enough to complete a comeback from the 4-0 hole they were put in by Belleville in the first period.
In game two, Kevin Mandolese got the nod to lead his team to an attempted eighth straight win. Unfortunately, this game did not go like the previous ones. It was Toronto that got out to the early lead with a first period goal. When the second frame started, Belleville came out flying, swarming the Toronto net and throwing not one, not two but three pucks in a row across the goal line. The second period saw Cody Goloubef’s fourth of the season, Cole Cassels’ fifth, and Parker Kelly’s tenth.
With a 3-1 lead, it felt like this one was in the bag. Unfortunately, Toronto scored five straight between the second and third periods and took home the win, ending Belleville’s winning streak and finishing their season on a low note.
We have to give love to Belleville’s leading scorer one more time. Sokolov had a goal and an assist in this final series against Toronto, making him Belleville’s official leading scorer on the season with 15 goals and 10 assists in 35 games.
Bishop’s return to the Belleville lineup was much needed. His poise down the middle and offensive contributions were a big reason the team was able to keep the momentum and finish the season strong. Bishop had a goal and an assist against Toronto.
Like those mentioned before, Crookshank tallied a goal and an assist in this series. He finished the season with 16 points in 18 games, which made him sixth leading scorer, despite playing 12+ games fewer than four of the five players ahead of him.
Cassels finished the season on the highest note of anyone. He had a goal and three assists in two games against Toronto and ended the year with four goals and six assists in his final eight games.
Over the final eight games, Belleville’s goaltending was pretty solid. Mads Søgaard came in and steadied the crease, playing some solid hockey in his seven starts. In this series, though, goaltending was definitely not at its best. While Søgaard managed to win his start, he did allow four goals on 27 shots for a 0.852 SV%. If it weren’t for his team giving him excellent support with six goals, the BSens wouldn’t have come out with the win. In the season finale, Mandolese posted a 0.808 SV%, allowing five goals on 26 shots.
Logan Brown’s Body
There’s not much else to say about Brown’s injury history. It feels like every time he gets to a point where he’s back at top flight, something else comes up. I love the player, his skill level is very high and many of his faults, in my opinion, are vastly overblown. But one thing is definitely true.: it’s really difficult to live out your NHL dream if you can’t stay healthy. I hope Brown is able to figure out how to do that because there’s a future here for a healthy Logan Brown.
The Belleville Senators finished the year with an 18-16-1 record, good for third in the North Division. With no playoffs to be played, we head into the offseason looking ahead towards next season where we’ll likely see a number of this team’s top scorers and goaltenders return to the AHL.
More on the season to come in my end of season review but I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for following along. I know you come here for Ottawa content but I’m always happy to see Belleville posts receive lots of comments and deep discussion.