Belleville 1 Utica 7

I caught this game on replay in the midst of my Punisher binge on Netflix (great show, incidentally). The only feed was the away stream and AHL Live was extra muddy from Utica. Before I get into my feelings, here are the basics (the box score):
Shots: 27-34
PP: 1-7 (included a lengthy 5-on-3)
PK: 3-6 (one of these was cancelled immediately off a faceoff violation)
Goaltender: Danny Taylor who was absolutely awful (he made just 4 key saves); Chris Driedger backed up and should have played at some point, but Kleinendorst refused to pull the veteran

The Goals
1. Utica PP – Taylor beat short side by a one-timer from the top of the circle
2. Utica – Taylor beat high from the top of the slot
3. Utica PP – Murray way out of position leaves the man wide open to bang in the rebound (not sure why Taylor wasn’t pulled after this)
4. Utica – one-timer from just inside the circle
5. Utica – scores on a breakaway
6. PP – Gagne off a nice pass from Chlapik (goes top shelf)
7. Utica – breakway (deke)
8. Utica PP – Sieloff gets puck watching leaving his man open to bang in the rebound

Scoring chances (11): McCormick (x4, pp, shx2), Gagne (x3, ppx2), White, Werek, Murray (pp), Reinhart (pp)

The Roster
Nick Paul and Ben Harpur joined Ottawa and were replaced by now-healthy Christian Jaros and Justin Vaive. Randell and Erkamps remained healthy scratches, Donaghey and Marcus Hogberg were in Brampton (the latter getting his first win and being a big part of it).

The Lines

Vaive barely played, but there wasn’t a regular fill-in for him; Jaros didn’t play much comparatively. Kleinendorst did a little juggling in the third once it was 5-0 (playing Chlapik, Gagne, and Perron more).

Special Teams
Gagne-Chlapik-Rodewald/Murray-Perron (scored)
Penalty Kill
McCormick-O’Brien/Englund-Sieloff (scored on)
McCormick-Rodewald/Englund-Murray (scored on)
White-Rodewald/Murray-Jaros (scored on)

This huge list is due both to experimentation as well as guys being in the penalty box (the BSens took a lot of dumb penalties). One of the notable trends, however, is less and less Burgdoerfer on special teams (he’s completely absent from the PP and little-used on the PK).

Notable Plays
Jaros made a great rush in the first; O’Brien missed the net on a breakaway (the first); Murray hit the post in the third; O’Brien deked out his teammates and then fanned on his shot leading to a partial breakaway the other way (third); former Leaf Sifers attacked Chlapik in the third (forced a fight)

Player Notes
Jaros: didn’t play as much as he normally would; beyond the rush mentioned above his other highlight was a great pass to McCormick in the first resulting in a scoring chance
Murray: doesn’t seem like a good fit on the PK and didn’t accomplish much outside of two shifts in the third (hitting the post and then a scoring chance on the PP)
Englund: had his cloak of invisibility on as I made zero notations for him
Burgdoerfer: not a pretty game for him with a lot of turnovers
Sieloff: took a dumb penalty that resulted in the second Utica goal; otherwise it was a pretty standard game for him
Chabot: carrying around Burgdoerfer doesn’t do his game any favours and I don’t think the current first PP arrangement suits him either–an unremarkable outing (his highlight was a great defensive play in the first)
Vaive: I want him sent back to the E, but that means Randell plays so I’m in a bind
Dunn: dressed in this game, but made no impact on it
Ciampini: see above
Reinhart: Kleinendorst needs to give up playing him with the first powerplay unit; it’s pretty apparently his lousy season in the DEL last year wasn’t a fluke
Perron: did not make much of an impact–seems at his best when paired with Gagne (although oddly I’m not sure those two with Chlapik works)
Werek: he’s now gone pointless in four games and, as I said last time, isn’t a great fit with Chlapik (his points have generally come from banging in rebounds from other shooters)
Chlapik: I’m not sure what it will take to consistently put him with the right players–much like Perron his production jumps with Gagne as they compliment one another; beyond his assist tonight he made a great defensive play late in the second
Rodewald: not his best game–I don’t think he fits well with White as his center (I’d rather see him with Chlapik)–but that wasn’t due to a lack of effort
White: I’m still not sure who the best wingers for him are, but more experimentation is needed
O’Brien: there’s far too much Jimothy in my life–despite 1 point in his last 4 games his minutes are still near the top of the forward heep
McCormick: on the one hand you want to credit him for all the scoring chances, but on the other he needs to finish some of them if he’s going to get all these opportunities–2 goals on the season at this point is not acceptable
Gagne: a funny thing–he’s played more and he’s produced more–I wish Kleinendorst would take the hint for all top prospects! He’s misplaced playing with two shooters (O’Brien and McCormick) however

My primary complaint in this game is leaving Danny Taylor in net–what for? He’s now been awful in three straight starts, that’s far too long for an experienced netminder. Maybe he needs a game in Brampton or to sit for Driedger a few times to get himself straightened out. That said, scoring one goal isn’t enough either, although I think much of that is down to player usage.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)


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