Ottawa Senators Prospect Update and Belleville Recap - January 3rd

Team Canada Czechs out at the WJC, BSens hit four game winning streak.

Ottawa Senators Prospect Update and Belleville Recap - January 3rd

With so much overlapping content between the usual prospect format and Spencer's Belleville update, and with a couple of Ottawa's premier prospects waylaid at the World Juniors, I've opted to skip the team of the week and just give you a quick recap of Ottawa's fingerprints at the WJC before Spencer gets into his groove. As always, you can see the stats at the bottom (lots of good trends for the BSens!). I also wanted to give an honourable mention to Jacob Bernard-Docker and Angus Crookshank who just barely qualify as prospects at this point and who have looked really good in Ottawa over the past couple of weeks. It seems really cool for those two to have finally found a place in the NHL.

As Shaan profiled, Vladimir Nikitin, Ottawa's seventh-round pick from last summer, allowed just 7 goals through five games and won four of those contests (logging one shutout along the way) to help Kazakhstan win the U20 D1A tournament in Budapest last month. Nikitin won his lone game in Chilliwack this week as Ottawa's netminder prospects went a perfect 6-0-0 across three leagues.

By his own standards and what we've come to expect from Jorian Donovan, things went rather poorly at the WJC with no points and just five shots on goal as Canada bowed out in the quarter-finals. He'll look to get back on track in the OHL for now in hopes of a meaningful playoff run with Michael Andlauer's other team alongside another Sens prospect.

Tomas Hamara has a goal and three assists so far for the Czechs who defeated Canada in the quarter-finals in a close one. He has also averaged over two shots per game. After a slow start in Kitchener, Hamara has really turned his season around, first in Brantford, and now in Gothenburg.In Hamara's absence, Matthew Andonovski has quietly put together a solid season in his first year as a Sens prospect.

Oskar Pettersson has struggled to find his game at the professional level with just one assist through 21 SHL games this year. And while the Swedes prevailed in the quarters over the Swiss (just barely),  Pettersson still has just one shot and no points through five games. Suffice to say, Ottawa's former third-rounder has failed to live up to the expectations bestowed upon him after a strong showing last year.

Belleville Update

It was a fantastic end to the 2023 calendar year for the Belleville Senators every way you slice it. The team skyrocketed from the basement of the North to third place with four straight wins to cap off the year.

The team kicked off the post Christmas party with a Boxing Day Battle of Ontario. While Toronto opened the scoring early in the game, the BSens took control of the game shortly after and never looked back. Matthew Highmore potted his third of the year while Zack Ostapchuk had a pair to give Belleville a 3-2 lead halfway through the third. An empty netter from Roby Järventie capped things off for a 4-2 victory. Kevin Mandolese was an absolute stud, stopping 29 of 31 including this late game, likely game saver off the toe.

Two days later, Belleville welcomed Laval for another divisional matchup and, this time, the good guys didn't give the opposition much of a chance to get into the game. Belleville scored the first three of the game, to give themselves a 3-0 lead early in the second period. While Laval would grab a powerplay marker towards the end of the middle stanza, Belleville was too solid in their own end to give the Rocket anything more. And who would score the empty netter? Järventie. Again.

On New Years Eve Eve (not a typo), Belleville decided to make their current three game winning streak an extra challenge by going down 2-0 early to the Marlies. With BSens fans on the edge of their seats through two periods, it was still 2-0. Fortunately, Järventie had a chance that he made no mistake of on the powerplay early in the third. Halfway through the final frame, Egor Sokolov tied things up with his seventh of the year. This goal would eventually force overtime.

And, in overtime, it was Sokolov finding Cole Reinhardt for the dagger.

If you've been paying attention here, you'll have noticed there hasn't been a ton of Sokolov love (Soko-love?). There hasn't been any hate, of course, but the veteran AHLer started the season with a bit of a stall in his development. Of late, though, Sokolov has been one of the most important pieces to this four game streak, compiling a goal and four assists in the process.

Belleville hits the road this weekend for a back-to-back in Manitoba before hosting the Moose back at home next Wednesday. Three straight games against one team? I'd be willing to bet things get heated.



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