While the Ottawa Senators have struggled to find the win column out of the gate, their AHL affiliate in Belleville has had the opposite start to their season. With a quick home-and-home against their rivals from across the Quebec border, the BSens quickly got to work with four points through two games, including a 6-5 overtime barn burner to kick off the year.
In game one, the two clubs exchanged first period goals. Newly acquired Jayce Hawryluk was the one to get Belleville on the board for the first this season, with assists going to Philippe Daoust and Cole Reinhardt. The second period saw the good guys take a commanding 4-1 lead, with goals from Lassi Thomson, Kristians Rubins and Roby Järventie. While we don’t discriminate, as a goal is a goal, Thomson’s might have been the prettiest of the night.
While we love a little hand-eye coordination, we also can’t ignore the absolute rocket Järventie blasted past the Rocket on the powerplay.
Unfortunately, Belleville wasn’t able to hold the lead for long. At the end of the second, Laval narrowed their deficit to two and came out flying in the third, potting two more to even things up with plenty of time to go. Viktor Lodin got the BSens back on the board in the third with an absolute beauty.
With this high scoring affair, we needed some extra time to get things sorted but it didn’t take too long for Rourke Chartier to call game.
In the second game, Belleville saw a similar struggle when they were up 3-1 and allowed Laval back into the game. The good news is, however, that the BSens were able to score three uninterrupted goals in the third period to ensure they could wrap this one up in regulation.
My favourite goal of the game came off the stick of Cole Reinhardt, who managed to find himself on a shorthanded breakaway and made absolutely no mistake.
- Mads Søgaard left the season opener in Laval after a collision in front of the net and did not dress for the second game of the season. Kevin Mandolese came in to relieve the Danish netminder while Antoine Bibeau posted a 0.914 SV% in Belleville’s 6-3 win.
- Ridly Greig was also injured during the season opener and did not dress for game two. This will be an interesting one to monitor as Greig also missed plenty of time during Ottawa’s training camp with an injury. According to Troy Mann, Søgaard’s injury is in his neck while Greig is just listed as “upper body” and is considered day-to-day.
- With twelve goals through two games, there are plenty of players to highlight as top contributors early in the season. While it’s fantastic to see players like Egor Sokolov, Jayce Hawryluk and Jake Lucchini post strong offensive numbers, I’m most excited to highlight Philippe Daoust who, as a rookie, contributed a goal and two assists through two games.
- It was great to see Belleville’s success on the powerplay early on, as the club scored three goals with the extra skater through 11 attempts (27%).
- Belleville also displayed a level of discipline we didn’t see consistently last year, only finding themselves in the box seven times through two games. There were many occasions last season where the team would offer up seven powerplays to their opponents in one game so spreading it over two is a nice change./