Belleville 5 Charlotte 2

Last night the BSens finished their four-game season series against Charlotte and picked up their first win on the back of strong goaltending and timely scoring. Before I get into my observations, here are the basics (the box score):
Shots: 23-29
PP: 0-4
PK: 2-2
Goaltender: Chris Driedger started again because Colorado had recalled Andrew Hammond and Danny Taylor was still sick–he was excellent, although the team didn’t force him to bail them out as much as the night before (he made five key saves).

The Opposition
The only major change from the previous night was in net and veteran ‘tender Jeremy Smith continued his awful season with Charlotte.

The Goals
1. Englund steals the puck on the Checker breakout and Werek essentially bounces the puck in off Reinhart
2. Charlotte – wide open beats Driedger low far side from the slot (Werek late on the backcheck)
3. Ciampini goes shelf on a partial break after poking the puck passed the D at his own blueline
4. Werek finds O’Brien all alone in front who dekes the goalie and scores on the backhand (Jimothy was part of a line change the Checkers did not pick up on)
5. Driedger beaten high on the short side from the goal line (not a good goal)
6. Reinhart buries the pass from Werek on the 2-on-1
7. McCormick beats the empty net, giving him the team lead in empty net points

Scoring chances (12): Reinhart (3), Gagne (x2, pp), White, Rodewald, Sieloff, Ciampini, McCormick (pp), Englund, O’Brien

The Roster
The only change was Ciampini replacing the pylon known as Justin Vaive.

The Lines

Every line except the fourth was changed (Werek and Reinhart moved to the second, White to the third, Ciampini to the fourth); while the defense pairings were unchanged, Erkamps played exactly one shift (in the third when the score was 5-2).

Special Teams
Penalty Kill

This is only the second time this year that the BSens were shorthanded just twice (the other was their 3-2 OT win over Manitoba). If the powerplay combinations look like everything but the kitchen sink that’s not far off. In the third Kleinendorst was clearly experimenting, but nothing was working. The major problem was on the back end–Jordan Murray has had all kinds of problems quarterbacking powerplay units (no one seems to know what he’s going to do, including him it seems). Getting into the zone isn’t the issue when Murray isn’t in the unit, but that’s typically when McCormick and O’Brien are on the ice so the problems are inside the zone.

Notable Plays
Werek was speared in the first (undetected) and was doubled over in pain, but stayed in the game and seemed fine; Perron made a fantastic backhand aerial pass to White in the first that gave him a breakaway; in the second Jaros was in a big collision in the corner (offensive zone) and seemed momentarily stunned, but was no worse for wear subsequently; Randell continued his struggles versus empty nets as late in the second he was unable to handle a pass for what would have been a tap-in; Perron was in a lot of pain with a late third period shot-block (again, he stayed).

Player Notes
Erkamps: he played one shift, so what can I say?
Murray: in front of family and friends he was not good at all–indecisive and unproductive–he was wisely kept off the PK
Burgdoerfer: the turnovers continue–he runs into trouble overhandling the puck or simply panicking in the defensive zone
Englund: wasn’t a perfect game for him but he contributed to an offensive play and had his first genuine scoring chance since the team’s 5-1 win over Hartford
Sieloff: one of his better games, including his first scoring chance since scoring in Belleville’s 7-4 loss to Springfield
Jaros: still doesn’t seem 100%, but continues to gradually improve; I thought he was strong defensively
Dunn: didn’t play much, but no overt snafus
Randell: he’s now played 17 games without a point versus a goaltender–why is he dressing?
Ciampini: credit a guy for producing with limited ice time
Chlapik: seems to have lost some of his confidence–a mix of the wrong linemates and a lack of TOI aren’t helping
Perron: played very well, but he and Chlapik haven’t meshed as a unit (linemates 7 of the last 8 games)
White: speaking of guys who don’t gel with Chlapik, he was largely invisible after the first
Rodewald: despite playing a ton was not that noticeable
Reinhart: benefited tremendously from playing with Werek (nothing about his game was different, simply his linemates)
Werek: I’ve been saying for awhile that he was a bad fit on Chlapik’s wing and Kleinendorst finally gave up on the experiment (after 4 of the last 5 games) and it provided immediate results
Gagne: tonight was a good illustration that his production is inspite rather than because of his linemates; he was fine, but there’s so much more he could do
O’Brien: took a stick in the face in the third and scored a nice goal
McCormick: is playing far too much; dependable defensively, but Kleinendorst needs an intervention on he and Jimothy

A great win for the team, albeit things could have easily gone the other way as the BSens benefited from subpar goaltending. I mentioned a lot of lineup complaints and I’ll have a piece talking about what I would do if I was putting this group together.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)



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