Belleville 2, Syracuse 4

After getting steamrolled by Laval last week the BSens lost two of their best defensemen from those games (Chabot and Jaros) coming in to face the Crunch. The new lineup struggled against the more talented Syracuse roster, who had their way most of the game (only spectacular goaltending from Hammond kept things close). Before my observations, the basics (you can see the box score here):
Shots: 26-43 (four players were tied for the most shots with 3)
PP: 0-4 (includes a 5-on-3)
PK: 10-11 (includes a 5-on-3 and 4-on-3)
Goaltender: Andrew Hammond (39-42) who made ten great saves in my estimation; Taylor backed up

The Opposition
Syracuse has an excellent AHL lineup which includes a former Sen and BSen (Jason Akeson and Cory Conacher). The Crunch are a good puck-possession team and dominated every period except the third (which was roughly even).

The Goals
1. (PP) Burgdoerfer loses a board battle and Paul can’t control a stick off the rebound
2. Erkamps can’t get it out (failed bank off the boards) right as a penalty expires and McCormick had left the zone leaving his man wide open
3. Lajoie starts the rush and DiDomenico scores off a sweet Murray cross-ice pass
4. McCormick scores on a shorthanded breakaway
5. Lajoie can’t tie up the man
6. Long range empty-neter

Scoring Chances (7): DiDomenico (2), McCormick, Chlapik (pp), Rodewald (pp), Paul (hits the post), Randell
Keep in mind that Chabot was responsible for 11 of 27 scoring chances in the previous two games (or 40%, if you prefer), and the volume in this game is almost exactly the average of what you’d have without him in the previous two

The Roster
Recalling all their prospects in Brampton, including tryout Ethan Werek who was given a PTO, there were some interesting decisions made. I’m assuming Sexton was injured rather than scratched, but also out were Perron, Flanagan, Donaghey, and the aforementioned Werek. Dunn (!) played his first game of the season, Rodewald returned from injury, and both Erkamps and Ciampini saw their first action.

Unlike the last two games Kleinendorst stayed close to his opening lines when the team was 5-on-5 (although Randell’s 10 minute misconduct created some variation in the third). The main note here is that Gagne did not consistently play on the second line (replaced by either Blunden, O’Brien, or more rarely, Reinhart). The defense pairings were actually very consistent throughout.

Special Teams
On the 5-on-3 Burgdoerfer played the point, DiDomenico slid down, and there was no Ciampini
4 on 4
Chlapik-DiDomenico/Murray-Lajoie (both times this occurred)
Penalty Kill
Paul-McCormick/Sieloff-Burgdoerfer (scored on)
McCormick-Blunden/Englund-Erkamps (scored shorthanded)
O’Brien-Randell/Sieloff-Burgdoerfer (once)
Reinhart-Dunn/Lajoie-Murray (once at the end of a PK)
Dunn-Randell/Englund-Erkamps (final 30 seconds of the game)
Paul/Sieloff-Burgdoerfer (for the 4-on-3)
Blunden/Sieloff-Burgdoerfer (for the 5-on-3)
This looks like a mountain of combinations, but the defense pairings never changed and the same four forwards (Paul, McCormick, Blunden, and O’Brien) played the vast majority of the time, simply in varying combinations.

Notable Plays
Good defensive play: Murray (x2), Englund (shot block on a 3-on-1), O’Brien, Lajoie, Erkamps, Blunden
Offensive play: McCormick batted in a puck on the BSens first powerplay, but it was ruled a high stick
Crossbar: saved a goal in the second

Notable Blundens/Errors
Bad penalties: Randell (x4!), O’Brien, Murray, McCormick
Dangerous turnovers: McCormick (x2), Murray, Lajoie (he blocked the attempt it resulted in)

Hammond was tripped (no call) and fell awkwardly in the first, seemingly shaken up initially, but it clearly didn’t impact his overall performance

Player Notes
Macoy Erkamps: it was interesting seeing him deployed largely as a penalty killer; mostly invisible, which is a plus–he made a great block in the slot in the second and then was part of the play responsible for the second goal against; no sign of his inexplicable positive effect seen in Binghamton
Andreas Englund: I’m not the biggest fan of him, but on the whole he was solid; made a great shot block on a 3-on-1 in the first, while making a pair of pretty bad turnovers (one in the second and the other in the third; fortunately none resulted in scoring chances against)
Erik Burgdoerfer: gets a ton of ice time and has precious little to show for it; his only notable play in the game was losing the puck battle that resulted in the first goal
Patrick Sieloff: it’s hard to remember a time where the puck was on his stick, but he didn’t make any notable mistakes so that’s a win for him
Maxime Lajoie: the game had its ups and downs for him–the kind of thing you expect from a rookie–I still think he should play more given the team’s struggles to move the puck without Chabot; notable moments were creating the rush that resulted in the team’s first (and so far only) 5-on-5 goal; had a bad turnover that he made the save on; a pair of good defensive plays; finally not being able to tie up his man for the third goal against
Jordan Murray: no one noticed, including me, that I didn’t give him a breakdown in his first game (oops!); he played a lot tonight when the team wasn’t shorthanded and it was largely positive; he made an excellent pass for the first goal along with two good defensive plays–the only thing marring his evening was a dumb penalty in the first
Tyler Randell: took four unprovoked minors–lazy, selfish penalties; he should be benched because of it, but I doubt he will be
Vincent Dunn: one of his major issues is skating–you can’t be an effective pest if you can’t skate; other than taking a man with him to create a 4-on-4 in the first he did nothing
Daniel Ciampini: why he was on the powerplay is beyond me–completely invisible
Max Reinhart: why is he on the fourth line (play him or don’t)? Barely played making it really hard to assess (the only note I made was a turnover)
Gabriel Gagne: speaking of barely played, although he was on the ice a bit more than Reinhart, he’s someone else who was only noticeable for a turnover–why not put him on the powerplay? Do something with him at least
Jack Rodewald: returned from injury and was largely invisible (nothing negative at least)
Filip Chlapik: needs to play more–for a team with anemic offense you have to let your horses run and Kleinendorst has been a bit too tight with the reins; most notable moments of the game were a scoring chance on the PP and then a backhander into the slot that was loose in Leighton’s feet (net empty, game is 3-2), but no one could get to it
Nick Paul: missed the second game, but played an absolutely ton tonight; did very little offensively (did hit a post), wears the goat horns on the first goal against and was responsible for a 3-on-1 against–also took a pair of minors; not the worst night of his life, but you expect more
Max McCormick: the org sensation scored–shorthanded naturally, as he still looks like a fish out of water on the powerplay; technically he did score on the PP, but it was banged in with a high stick; defensively there were some issues–surrendering a 2-on-1, passing to the wrong team in his own zone (Syracuse missed the net), and taking a dumb penalty while already shorthanded. He is what he is–a grinder who can chip in–but he gets far more ice time than is warranted
Chris DiDomenico: I’m becoming convinced he can contribute regularly, albeit it’s hard to do so when his team is shorthanded for half the game; two scoring chances (including a goal) mixed with two turnovers isn’t bad for what he does
Jim O’Brien: there is no escaping Jimothy, although thankfully he wasn’t put on the powerplay tonight; he played a ton and that TOI resulted in: a good defensive play and a dumb penalty. I didn’t note it at the time, but on an odd man situation in the zone he inexplicably skated out beyond the blueline with the puck to go change–Jimothy does what Jimothy does
Michael Blunden: there’s also no escaping the captain, who was oddly good on the draw in the game; in his ungodly amount of TOI he made a good defensive play (a nice little stick lift)–c’est tous. Does he need to play in all situations? No. Does he? Absolutely.

The BSens were inordinately undisciplined this game (very Luke Richardson-style), which included a brawl near the end of the game (not bench-clearing, but bench-involving). This was not a particularly physical game–a few big hits, sure, but there really wasn’t an obvious inciting incident. I’d like to think Kleinendorst will clamp down on it–no team can afford to give up as many powerplays as they did–and so many lazy penalties as well.

With Christian Jaros sent back down I expect not just defensive changes (presumably Erkamps sits), but shifts in the forwards as well. I’d guess Perron and Flanagan will draw back in (Ciampini and Gagne likely scratched, although I’d dump Randell in a heartbeat). Werek presumably will play as well, given his newly signed PTO.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)


1 Comment

  1. […] Belleville 2, Syracuse 4 […]

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.