This past weekend, CAA Arena was host to a back-to-back with the Rochester Americans as the Belleville Senators continued to push their record to that of playoff status. There was potential drama in the air on Friday night as the Americans named Aaron Dell as their starting goalie. I’m certain I don’t need to remind any of you where that drama stems from.
In the other crease, Filip Gustavsson was given his 10th AHL start of the year. The first period didn’t amount to much - although Belleville did outshoot their opponent 10-3 on the period - but halfway through the second, the deadlock was finally broken as Cole Reinhardt potted his eighth of the year. The BSens rode some strong play throughout the period and almost escaped unscathed - until Rochester answered back in the final minute of the second to even things up.
It didn’t take long for Belleville to regain their lead, as Andrew Agozzino grabbed his 15th just a few minutes into the final frame. Unfortunately for the home team, it didn’t take long for Rochester to respond.
This one needed extra time and, despite a solid effort, the Americans took the first game of the weekend by a 3-2 margin.
In the second tilt, the BSens came to play. The first period saw three Belleville goals to open things up, thanks to Logan Shaw, Jake Lucchini and Reinhardt. With a 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission, the BSens were sitting comfortably.
In the second, the two teams exchanged a goal each. The third period, however, was another story. While Mark Kastelic brought Belleville’s lead to 5-1 early in the third, that was far from the end. Jack Quinn started a fury of goals for Rochester, which saw Belleville’s lead shrink to just one goal. With five minutes left, noted sniper Michael Del Zotto scored Belleville’s sixth of the game - which, should have been where this ended. To make everyone in the arena uncomfortable, the Americans scored one more with a few minutes remaining, to bring this game to official nail-biter status.
Belleville weathered the storm and managed to grab two points in a 6-5 barn burner on the Bay of Quinte.
- Goaltending was not an overall strong point for the good guys this weekend, as neither Filip Gustavsson (0.857 SV%) nor Kevin Mandolese (0.821 SV%) had particularly solid outings.
- Michael Del Zotto continued his torrid pace in the AHL with a goal and three assists this weekend, bringing his totals to 26 points in 22 games on the season.
- Mark Kastelic’s return to Belleville has been a welcomed one, as he scored a goal and his presence in the faceoff dot and his own zone were almost certainly a breathe of fresh air for Head Coach Troy Mann and his staff.
- Cole Reinhardt scored in both games, bringing his goal totals one shy of double digits. His 0.43 pts/gp and 1.82 shots/gp thus far eclipse his totals from last season (0.36, 1.48).
- Going 1-0-1 this weekend, Belleville now sits fifth in the North with a 25-21-1 record. They are just one point back of Laval for third, three points behind Toronto for second. Rochester, currently sitting fourth, has more points but have also played six more games than Belleville, Toronto and Laval./