Belleville 4, Springfield 7

Sunday was the end of a 3-in-3 for Belleville, but exhaustion and schedule are no excuse as Springfield was in the exact same situation. The 0-6 Thunderbirds lay a beatdown on the BSens, but losses like this are just as interesting as the wins. Before my observations, here are the basics (you can see the box score here):
Shots: 31-38
PP: 0-10 (three 5-on-3’s, one of which was very brief; two 4-on-3’s; the final PP lasted for about ten seconds while Springfield was in possession)
PK: 4-7 (one 5-on-3)
Goaltender: Danny Taylor (making six key saves); Andrew Hammond backed up; on the whole I haven’t been that impressed with Taylor, who in five starts has only had one excellent game (the win over Hartford)

The Opposition
The Thunderbirds are a mediocre team–not quite as awful as their 0-6 record entering the game, but struggling behind some atrocious goaltending. Their third goaltender played and currently has the best numbers on the team (small sample size and not that good overall); this is the third time in seven games where the BSens have faced a third-string goaltender

The Goals
1. Springfield: 3-on-2 tipped in
2. Ciampini tips in Burgdoerfer’s shot
3. Springfield: crossbar-high tap-in of a rebound
4. Burgdoerfer (off a sweet pass from Chlapik)
5. Springfield: one-timer on a 5-on-3 PP (not a great goal allowed by Taylor)
6. Springfield: PP rebound banged in with no BSens in front of the net to defend
7. Springfield: Burgdoerfer loses a puck battle and gets puck watching, leaving his man wide open in front to score with 4 seconds left in the second
8. Sieloff bounces a point shot off a defender
9. Springfield: Paul can’t take his man who beats Taylor at a terrible angle
10. Springfield: Taylor beat high
11. O’Brien (the goal wasn’t shown as the AHL Live feed was showing the highlight of the previous goal)

Scoring chances (10): Ciampini (x2), McCormick (x2, one on the pp), Chlapik (pp), Rodewald, Burgdoerfer, Sieloff, O’Brien, and Jaros

The Roster
Ben Harpur had been reassigned earlier in the day, but was not sent to Springfield; Vincent Dunn was scratched and Macoy Erkamps dressed (the team went with seven defenseman). Flanagan, Sexton, Blunden, and Driedger remain injured. After the game Max McCormick was recalled to Ottawa.

Lines
Werek-Paul-Rodewald
McCormick-O’Brien-Gagne
Reinhart-Perron-Randell
Ciampini-Chlapik
Sieloff-Burgdoerfer
Chabot-Jaros
Englund-Lajoie
Erkamps

Randell’s regular rotation disappeared pretty quickly; by the second period Gagne played much less (in favour of Chlapik, although he wasn’t specifically always on the second line). Erkamps was used very sparingly and Chabot (as expected) played the most among the blueliners.

Special Teams
Powerplay
Werek-Paul-Rodewald/Lajoie-Jaros (the most used unit)
Werek-Paul-Rodewald/Chabot-Jaros (once)
McCormick-Chlapik-Reinhart/Chabot-Burgdoerfer
Gagne-Chlapik-McCormick/Chabot-Burgdoerfer (once)
McCormick-Paul-O’Brien/Lajoie-Burgdoerfer (once)
Reinhart-McCormick-Rodewald/Chabot-Burgdoerfer (5-on-3)
Werek-Paul-Chlapik/Lajoie-Jaros (5-on-3)
Gagne-Paul-Rodewald/Chabot-Burgdoerfer (5-on-3)
Rodewald-Chlapik-Werek/Chabot-Jaros (5-on-3)
Chlapik-Rodewald/Chabot-Jaros (4-on-3)
McCormick-Paul-Rodewald/Chabot (4-on-3)
4-on-4
Perron-Gagne/Chabot-Jaros
O’Brien-McCormick/Sieloff-Burgdoerfer
Paul-Rodewald/Englund-Burgdoerfer
Perron-Chlapik/Chabot-Jaros
O’Brien-Paul-Rodewald/Burgdoerfer (scored on)
O’Brien-Reinhart/Chabot-Burgdoerfer
Chlapik-Gagne/Chabot-Burgdoerfer
Penalty Kill
O’Brien-McCormick/Englund-Sieloff
O’Brien-McCormick/Chabot-Jaros (scored on)
Paul-Rodewald/Englund-Erkamps (scored on)
O’Brien-McCormick/Englund-Burgdoerfer
Paul-Rodewald/Sieloff-Burgdoerfer
Perron-Randell/Chabot-Jaros (once)
McCormick-Randell/Englund-Sieloff (once)
O’Brien/Englund-Jaros (5-on-3)
O’Brien/Chabot-Englund (5-on-3) (scored on)
Burgdoerfer on the first unit powerplay wasn’t that effective. While his two points on the night might suggest otherwise, the 28-year old defender’s offensive limitations stretch back to his junior career and his 0.25 AHL ppg just shouldn’t be riding shotgun with Chabot on the top unit. Otherwise the variation above illustrates frustration from Kleinendorst trying to find something that worked–the obsession with keeping McCormick on the powerplay couldn’t be lifted and poor Perron was given no time with the man advantage despite a desperate need for creativity and goals (by my count they had 2 scoring chances on the powerplay).

Notable Plays
Chlapik’s scoring chance above involved him deking a couple of guys and drawing a penalty; on the 4-on-3 in the second Chlapik beat all three defenders to get a backhand in tight on goal; in the third Jaros went coast-to-coast, drawing a penalty; Chlapik set-up a wide open Gagne during the final 4-on-4, but he missed the net.

Notable Blunders/Errors
In the first O’Brien had a clear chance to make a pass for a breakaway and couldn’t figure it out; Taylor ignored a puck thinking it was an icing and this caused chaos; on the first 5-on-3 Burgdoerfer repeatedly could not receive passes; a Paul turnover in the first lead to a breakaway against (shot went off the crossbar); a Chabot turnover in the second lead to a 2-on-1 in the second with a penalty taken.

Player Notes
Erkamps: did not play much; only notable moment was throwing a huge hit in the third
Englund: solid game from him–didn’t do much, but no major mistakes either
Lajoie: pretty quiet game, although he continues to be the guy who tee’s up Jaros’ big shot on the PP
Burgdoerfer: multi-point games are a rarity, but points aside, it was a pretty average performance and I think he was overplayed
Sieloff: looked as shocked as I think I was when he scored (his season totals as a pro are always 1 or 2); otherwise it was his usual dependable if unexciting play
Chabot: was trying to a bit too much and uncharacteristically committed a number of turnovers
Jaros: a little quieter than usual, but without the kinds of mistakes Chabot was making above
Randell: had his first fight of the season and given that’s what he’s on the roster to do, it’s something
Ciampini: a couple of nice plays early, but didn’t play much subsequently and never got a turn on the powerplay (unlike previous games)
Reinhart: did not play much and Kleinendorst clearly has issues trusting him; more regular turns on the powerplay at least should be on the menu for him
Werek: despite a lot of time on the PP he made no impact whatsoever
Gagne: largely invisible, with special teams time meaning he was on the bench for long periods
Perron: I’m not sure why he doesn’t get a regular turn on the powerplay, but he doesn’t; other than taking a dumb penalty in the first which resulted in the second Springfield goal, he was solid
O’Brien: even Jimothy scores once and awhile; Kleinendorst didn’t punch the Jimmy button as much as he sometimes does, but that’s presumably a matter of how many powerplays there were
Rodewald: played a ton and while he wasn’t bad he wasn’t particularly effective
Paul: pretty sloppy game and he looked gased at times (he played a ton)
McCormick: solid game from him–I’ll repeat he doesn’t belong on the first unit PP
Chlapik: he’s got to score eventually; there are no possession numbers kept in the AHL, but by the eye test he was the best at carrying and moving the puck; not many rookies can turn AHL defensemen into pylons offensively

This was an ugly game for Belleville–while they weren’t dominated in the same way that Providence and others have, they were a gong show on special teams and Kleinendorst’s conservatism when it comes to certain players (either in playing or not playing them in various situations) gets frustrating when things aren’t working. On the powerplay I’d like to see Perron and Gagne rotated in more regularly (or at all), with McCormick and Burgdoerfer limited to the second unit without needing to always be on even that. This might be academic with Ben Harpur’s arrival and Colin White and Ben Sexton’s emanate return.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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