The Belleville Senators had a busy weekend as their schedule saw them play three games in three nights against three fellow North Division teams. With games against Syracuse and Utica at CAA Arena on Friday and Saturday, Bellevillet then had a quick trip down the 401 to Toronto for a matchup with the Marlies on Sunday.
The weekend started out about as well as you could have hoped. Despite still missing a big chunk of the roster, the BSens were able to muster a win against Syracuse —thanks in no small part to Jarid Lukosevicius’s first career AHL hat trick.
This match saw plenty of back and forth as the Crunch held a 2-0 lead early before Belleville turned the tide with three unanswered. Between the pipes, Troy Mann turned once again to Antoine Bibeau who made 35 saves.
While the optimism was running high after the comeback vitcory, it appeared that Belleville may have emptied the tank a little a bit more than anticipated as Saturday was a much different story. Similar to the parent club’s game against LA last night, Belleville let Utica grab an early commanding lead by scoring the first four goals of the game - all in the first period.
Belleville’s effort to come back and get involved in a competitive game was noticeable, as 4-0 turned into 5-3 but three goals was all they could muster, while Utica added another two for the 7-3 victory.
The third and final contest of the weekend felt just as long as you’d have expected from a team who’d played the previous two straight nights and then had to drive to Toronto to play once more. In a 3-1 loss to the Marlies, Belleville didn’t even get themselves on the board until five minutes into the third period with another goal from Lukosevicius.
With a 9-11-1 record, this team is still very much in the playoff picture. While they miss virtually half of their team, including some important players in Roby Järventie, Mads Søgaard and Ridly Greig (expected back soon), every point will be a blessing until they can deploy their full roster again.
- I don’t know who in the organization said hey, let’s give Jarid Lukosevicius a professional tryout but they deserve a raise or, at the very least, a high five for their work. The 27 year old winger has been through the ringer, to say the least. He went the NCAA route, found himself playing some minor minutes for a few AHL seasons before hitting the ECHL this fall. After coming up to Belleville, he has six points in 13 games, including four goals this weekend. Since the injuries started mounting, he’s been playing more and taking advantage.
- It’s tough to critique the goaltenders in Belleville these days as they don’t have a lot going for them in terms of help on the ice in front of them. That being said, neither Antoine Bibeau nor Kevin Mandolese looked particularly sharp this weekend. Bibeau did secure the win on Friday but didn’t post a save percentage above 0.900 in either of his starts. Mandolese was the man between the pipes against Utica, and he posted an abysmal 0.786.
- Angus Crookshank and Egor Sokolov continue to sit atop the call up list for wingers as their production hasn’t really changed, despite the drastic changes in the lineup. Both had a goal and an assist this weekend.
- Rourke Chartier’s strong showing this season continues. He scored a pair of goals this weekend, bringing him to 12 on the season in 21 games. That’s a 40+ goal pace across a full AHL season.
- Lassi Thomson is quietly tearing it up lately. The young Finnish rearguard has a goal and six assists in his last seven AHL games. I read somewhere that a key Sens defenseman was injured recently..../