Getting closer to crunch time, this was the kind of week the Belleville Senators needed to have. With the NHL All Star Weekend in full swing, a slew of reinforcements arrived from the Nation’s Capital just in time for four games in seven nights.
The week started with what would have appeared to be a nail biter on paper but what was actually a strong win from the guys in the B. Despite a one goal margin in their 4-3 win against the Syracuse Crunch last Wednesday, the BSens outshot their opponent 31 to 22 while have a total of nine (!) powerplay opportunities - two of which were converted.
The game actually opened with a pair of goals for the Crunch in the first 15 minutes only to see their lead vanish in the four minutes that followed. Matthew Wedman buried his seventh of the season just over a minute after the Crunch took a 2-0 lead. The Captain, Logan Shaw, evened things up as the clock wound down in the first, with assists from Lassi Thomson and Chris Wilkie.
While the Crunch were able to regain the lead, it once again didn’t last long as Dillon Heatherington buried his second of the campaign to knot things at 3. Late in the third period, the Crunch took an untimely powerplay which gave noted offensive dynamo Michael Del Zotto a great opportunity to seal the deal for Belleville.
Unfortunately for the good guys, Jacob Bernard-Docker sustained an injury on Wednesday night. Luckily for all parties, JBD will be just fine - with a bit of a wonky smile.
"JBD took a baseball swing from Walcott which the officials clearly missed. I know he’s lost one tooth and he’s got six loose and was still on the table getting stitched up. He’s pretty much been on the table with our dentist and doctors since the incident happened." 2/2 #ForTheB— David Foot (@FootyOnTheAir) February 3, 2022
On Friday, the Crunch returned to CAA Arena for round two on the week but this time came out on top. Despite solid efforts from Thomson, Egor Sokolov and Rourke Chartier, the BSens weren’t able to bring the same fight they had on Wednesday as they dropped this one 4-2.
With a bit of disappointment in their heads, Belleville welcome Laval for the final match of their four game home stand and, boy did they ever welcome them. Chartier kicked off the party in the first period with his sixth of the year which he then followed with his seventh tally early in the second.
Chartier would also factor in on Belleville’s next goal as he had the primary helper on Sokolov’s tenth of the year. Belleville would later see Shaw, Jake Lucchini and Mark Kastelic find the back of the net for a 6-1 routing of the Rocket. Chartier would, once again, factor in for another assist to give him four points on the night.
In their final game of the week, Belleville hit the road to take on the Flyers’ affiliate out of Lehigh. The first period could not have been more of a tie, as both teams contributed nine shots a piece while scoring zero goals. Towards the end of the first, the Phantoms got into a bit of penalty trouble, taking two minors in the final two minutes of the frame.
Zac Leslie would finally break the tie roughly halfway through the second frame as put the puck where Grandma keeps the peanut butter (are we still using this phrase?). This was Leslie’s second goal and tenth point of the season, tying the his offensive production from last year in three fewer games.
Shortly thereafter, the BSens extended their lead to 2-0 with an Andrew Agozzino powerplay marker. Del Zotto factored in on both Belleville goals early in this one, giving him 17 points halfway through his 13th game for the team.
Just over three minutes into the third, Maxence Guenette added a goal to his earlier assist to extend Belleville’s lead to three. His two points tonight were a welcomed bounce back from a five game pointless drought.
Just two minutes later, another play who has bounced back after a short vacation from the scoresheet added to Belleville’s lead as Roby Järventie buried his sixth of the season. Later in the third, a familiar name appeared on the scoresheet. Del Zotto potted one to continue his tear of the AHL.
5-0 for the good guys.
I have decided to abandon the “good, bad and ugly” bit from these recaps as, some weeks, it feels like I’m working too hard to write a bad or ugly. Some weeks, like this one, there is very little to be upset about.
Rourke Chartier: A player who was having a quietly good start to his season turned up the volume this week. Chartier led the BSens in scoring, by a wide margin, with two goals and six (!) assists in four games this week. He now has 17 points through 16 games with the Belleville Senators.
Lassi Thomson: Since being returned to Belleville, Thomson has been an absolute star on the back end. Since returning from the NHL, Thomson had a goal and three assists in three games and looked like he’d gained another gear after another successful stint in Ottawa.
Mads Søgaard: The Great Dane™ started three of Belleville’s four games this week, going 2-1-0 and posting a 0.902 SV% in the process. The 4-2 loss against Syracuse really dragged his numbers down as he had a 0.917 SV% and 0.957 SV% in his other two starts.
Filip Gustavsson: It was a great week to be a goaltender in Belleville, as Gustavsson stood tall in Belleville’s win last night. Playing a literal flawless game, Gus kept was in Belleville’s 5-0 beatdown in Lehigh.
Michael Del Zotto: He may not be good enough for the NHL but he also probably shouldn’t be in the AHL, either. Del Zotto had two goal and five assists this week to bring his AHL totals to 18 in 13 games.
Roby Järventie: After going without a point in three straight, Järventie tallied a goal and three assists through the final three games of this week. The Finnish winger has had a roller coaster of a season and is currently in one of his hot streaks. It would go a long way for Belleville’s playoff chances if he can sustain this streak longer than his usually five or six games.
Egor Sokolov: Everyone’s favourite BSen has quietly put on a clinic in the AHL in his sophomore year. He had a goal and three assists bringing his totals to 26 points in 31 games, beating his rookie point totals (25 points in 35 games).
Going 6-4-0 in their last ten, Belleville is creeping back into the playoff conversation in a very even North Division. While the games played mark varies, only a few points separate the fourth, fifth and sixth place teams as they work towards that final spot. Depending on how the rest of the season goes for Rochester, who currently sit third, it’s possible that slot could be available, as they have played four more games than Belleville and are just 11 points ahead.