Belleville 5 Hershey 2

I’m a little late in posting this as I’m dealing with the joy of having my wallet stolen (commiserations to others who have gone through this process).

After three straight loses the BSens put one in the win column by beating the injury-depleted Bears. Christian Jaros was back from Ottawa and PTO Ethan Werek (who has one very devoted Twitter fan) joined a slightly different lineup and proved very productive. Before my observations, here are the basics (you can see the box score here):
Shots: 35-19
PP: 1-7 (the first was abbreviated)
PK: 5-6 (one 5-on-3, which resulted in the goal)
Goaltender: Danny Taylor, who I had making six big saves; Andrew Hammond served as the back-up

The Opposition
The injury-deleted Bears were forced to start their third goalie and it showed; Hershey had good puck movement on the powerplay, but once they got behind in the game they struggled to generate much sustained pressure.

The Goals
1.  Hershey 5-on-3 PP McCormick doesn’t collapse back far enough to take the man in the slot who bangs in the rebound
2. DiDomenico picks up a loose puck at the blueline and throws it at the net–Werek bangs in a juicy rebound
3. PP Paul banks it off Werek in front
4. Hershey clean faceoff win over Chlapik results in a one-timer
5. Gagne finishes off a 2-on-1 (great shot short side)–Englund with the pass
6. Rodewald scores off a loose puck right in front (phantom assists were awarded to O’Brien and Paul)
7. McCormick hits the post of the empty net and DiDomenico scores off the rebound

Scoring chances (11): Rodewald (x3), Werek (x2), DiDomenico (x2, including a breakaway), Randell, Chlapik (pp), Gagne, O’Brien (breakaway)
The BSens scored on nearly half their chances and despite the win the number is similar to their loss to Syracuse and their Chabotless numbers in general

The Roster
I’d suspected Francis Perron was injured rather than scratched, but nothing published said one way or another about it until I heard the BSens broadcast for this game (AHL Live finally figured that out)–were it not for that I’d still not know (he’s out with the flu apparently). I’m still assuming Sexton is out due to injury or illness, but again, nothing official (this may be true of Flanagan and Reinhart as well, but that’s speculation). Donaghey was a healthy scratch and was sent to Brampton subsequently (Hogberg was sent down before the game–he played the following night, losing 4-2 with a .903 save percentage and earning the game’s third star). Mike Blunden sat out the game due to a suspension, which created space for Werek to play.

Special teams and 11 forwards meant these combinations weren’t kept consistently, although the so-called first line remained largely intact, as did the first D-pair. Murray played more than Erkamps and Lajoie logged similar 5-on-5 TOI to Englund.

Special Teams
Werek-Paul-Rodewald/Lajoie-Burgdoerfer (scored)
McCormick-Chlapik-DiDomenico/Lajoie-Jaros (used once)
Werek-Paul-Rodewald/Murray-Burgdoerfer (used once)
Ciampini-Paul-Rodewald/Lajoie-Burgdoerfer (used once)
4 on 4
Penalty Kill
Paul-McCormick/Englund-Jaros (used once)
Paul-O’Brien/Sieloff-Erkamps (used once)
Paul-O’Brien/Englund-Jaros (used once)
DiDomenico-Rodewald/Englund-Jaros (used once)
DiDomenico-Randell/Englund-Erkamps (used once)
McCormick/Sieloff-Burgdoerfer (5-on-3) (scored on)
This looks chaotic, but the principal forwards aren’t that different from the last game other than Blunden is absent with Rodewald as the primary replacement; on defense there were three main pairings who were rotated through various forwards.

Notable Plays
Chlapik (x2), Ciampini, and DiDomenico had nice steals in the first (the former leading to one of Rodewald’s scoring chances); both Englund and Burgdoerfer made key defensive plays in the second and Paul made one in the third

Notable Blunders/Errors
McCormick and Burgdoerfer took selfish penalties in the first; Murray had a pretty brutal turnover in that period, as did Burgdoerfer in the second and Werek with a pair in the third

McCormick fell awkwardly into the boards early in the second

Player Notes
Burgdoerfer: I’m still not sure what he’s doing on the powerplay, although it’s at least infrequent; otherwise he continued to play his vanilla style
Sieloff: hasn’t shown the physical dimension we saw in game one and while there’s no offensive ability at all he doesn’t make many mistakes
Englund: a better game from him, in large part because he was played less
Murray: pretty quiet night, but over the three games he’s played he’s made at least one catastrophic defensive error in each, so there are issues
Erkamps: most of his TOI is on the PK, which is interesting, but also makes him really hard to assess
Lajoie: I wish he played more–makes mistakes from time-to-time, but I like the offensive creativity and drive
Jaros: I’ve been really impressed with him–all those comparisons to Borowiecki and I keep waiting for him to run around, but he’s been picky about throwing hits and he’s far more aggressive offensively than I’d imagined
Randell: outside of taking bad penalties he’s brought nothing to the table
Dunn: didn’t make any mistakes, so that’s something
Ciampini: I was very happy he only got only one PP shift in the game; should be fourth-line support–I feel like Kleinendorst is forcing him into a scoring role he can’t really fulfill
Gagne: still very raw around the edges, but maybe the goal will give him confidence and earn him a bit more TOI
O’Brien: after logging an insane amount of ice time against Syracuse, Kleinendorst cut him back a little bit and it helped; absolutely clueless offensively, but competent defensively
McCormick: has been caught a couple of times this year cheating high on the PK, which is an issue; he also doesn’t belong on the first PP unit
Rodewald: no idea why he’s on the PK (that’s not a criticism–it just seems random) and he’s not really a puck carrier, but he can finish given the opportunity
Chlapik: for those paying attention he’s generated at least one scoring chance on the powerplay every game this year–you have to wonder how much more production there would be with that unit if it wasn’t anchored by McCormick; he’s got great offensive drive and I think the production will come sooner than later
Paul: his best game of the year–I still expect more, but he was carrying the puck and was starting to drive the play
DiDomenico: sometimes holds on to the puck too long (a habit playing in Europe wouldn’t have helped), but consistently gets offensive chances, which is what you want
Werek: it’s a difficult debate–better than Lemieux, assuredly, but better than Gretzky? It’s a close call. In all seriousness, it’s his first 3-point game in the AHL since January 12th, 2016, when he played for Charlotte; as a veteran player he’ll quickly regress to the mean (defensively he was a nightmare)

It’s great for the BSens to get a win and this is exactly the kind of team they have to beat, since without Chabot they are no match for the elite talent in the league. Speaking of Chabot, he has been returned to the roster (for now), which will make a huge difference on Friday (if he’s still there). As for coaching decisions, Kleinendorst made an adjustment I like (Ciampini off the PP), but is still heavy-handed in his addiction to particular veteran players. We’ll see if he loosens up a bit going forward–I’d like him to scratch Randell, but I’m not expecting it.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)




  1. Great post. Hope to see these all season long. Sorry to hear about your wallet loss. That sucks.

    • I appreciate that! And thanks for the sympathy–all things considered it could have been worse

  2. […] he do anything notable). He’s off the PK though, so that’s something Werek: I mentioned earlier that he’d regress to the mean and that’s happening in a hurry (being off the PP […]

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