This week, the Beef Boy Hive™ got their wish when the Ottawa Senators recalled Angus Crookshank from the AHL. Crookshank has been playing the best hockey of his career this season, with 21 points through 24 games with Belleville. While he's up in Ottawa, Crookshank's point streak in Belleville is currently paused at five games, where he has a pair of goals and trio of assists. In his AHL debut, Crookshank logged just over 10 minutes of ice time, all 5v5.
Roby Järventie added another assist to his totals this week, while playing top line minutes for Belleville but the story of the week for the young Finn is actually something unusual. In just one play, Järventie more than quadrupled his total penalty minutes on the season as he was assessed two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct, two minutes for boarding and a ten minute misconduct in Thursday's tilt with Cleveland.
Literally the third most productive forward in Ottawa's prospect pool this week, the 7th-round pick from 2022 scored his 6th of the season for the USHL's Tri-City Storm, for a total of 17 points in 24 games.
Despite being cut from Team Canada's selection camp, Ottawa's top prospect from the 2022 NHL draft added a goal, 3 assists, and 7 shots on goal to his total of 26 points in 31 games, and continued to lead the Brantford Bulldogs in defensive scoring. Expect him, Tomas Hamara and Tyler Kleven to feature on Belleville's left point next season.
A goal in 3 games? That doesn't seem all that impressive for the second-best prospect in Ottawa's defense corps this week. Yeeeeep. But good for him! He's got some valuable physical tools and has a respectable 12 points in 19 games with Sudbury. Not outstanding for an overager but miles ahead of some defensemen who the organization actually drafted.
This update is all about the underdogs. Nikitin hasn't performed well in the BCHL this season, but he helped Kazakhstan to qualify for the 2025 World Junior championships with a .944 save percentage at the Division 1A tournament (which included Austria and Denmark). He'll likely represent his country next year as Kazakhastan will replace whichever team is relegated from the tournament.
I feel like we have to start each of these updates with "the rollercoaster continues" because this Belleville Senators team has been the most consistently inconsistent team I think I've covered since they moved to the Bay of Quinte.
After going 2-0-1 two weeks ago, the BSens lost back-to-back against the top team in the North by a combined score of 7-2. But even within this dip in the rollercoaster, there was another rollercoaster. Rollercoaster-ception, if you will.
The back-to-back started well for Belleville. They held the North leading Monsters scoreless for over 25 minutes to kick things off on Thursday night. Then, Belleville pulled something Ottawa fans are very familiar with; they allowed two goals in the span of 90 seconds to go into the second intermission down 2-0. In the third, the Senators allowed Cleveland to score three more times because Garrett Pilon broke Jet Greaves' shutout bid.
On Friday, the rollercoaster went back up, as Belleville bounced back from a 5-1 loss to put together a tidy performance, although they still lost 2-1. The most unfortunate part about this 2-1 loss is that Cleveland's second goal was an empty netter. Then Angus Crookshank scored to make it 2-1 with just 55 seconds left. Unfortunately, Belleville couldn't manage a late game tying goal to force overtime.
Outside of the final score, the second game of this back-to-back was very encouraging for Belleville. After a shaky end to the game on Thursday, the team was able to reset and put Cleveland to the test. Had they played that way in both games, we might be having a different conversation.
I know that Ottawa wants Belleville to play the same system, but I don't think the level of inconsistency is what the team means by this.
Belleville hosts the Penguins and Marlies this week before a quick break for the holidays. A pair of wins here, as always, would do a lot for Belleville's playoff status heading into Christmas.