Belleville 4, Syracuse 5 (SO)

For just the second time in the last eight games the BSens scored more than three goals, with the return of Chris DiDomenico playing a key part in that (albeit in terms of opportunities it was not an unusual night), but a rough night from Andrew Hammond and a poorly timed penalty by Jack Rodewald contributed to the team losing. Before I get into specific observations, here are the basics (box score):
Shots: 24-32
PP: 2-5 (including two 5-on-3’s)
PK: 4-5
Goaltender: Hammond got the start, but had what was his worst start of the year (he made seven key saves); Chris Driedger backed up, while Danny Taylor wasn’t dressed. Marcus Hogberg remained in Brampton where 48 saves weren’t enough in the Beasts 4-3 OT loss (he was subsequently recalled to Belleville, probably just to practice as the team has almost a week off).

The Opposition
The Crunch entered the fray at 9-9-3, but on a five-game winning streak; the team was missing their top-scoring forward and defenseman; goaltending had been atrocious until the acquisition of Louis Domingue, but he did not play.

The Goals
1. Syracuse – Hammond overreacts to a wide shot and can’t get back into position
2. Chlapik scores on a 2-on-1 with McCormick
3. Syracuse – terrible goal on Hammond (low shot through him from the side boards)
4. PP – White one-timer from Perron (final seconds with the 3rd line on the ice)
5. Syracuse – Sieloff flubs clearing the puck in front of the net and the Crunch bang it in off the miscue
6. PP DiDomenico one-timer on the 5-on-3
7. DiDomenico steals the puck and centers to a wide open Paul
8. Syracuse PP – with the goaltender pulled it’s deflected in
Hammond beat on a deke
Didomenico shoots and is stopped
Hammond stop (exact same move as the same shooter)
Chlapik shoots and is stopped
Hammond stops the deke
White scores five-hole
Hammond stop going five-hole
Perron tries to slip the goal in far side, but is stopped
Hammond stops low far side
Paul stopped going five-hole
Hammond doesn’t need to make a stop (shoots high and wide)
Rodewald stopped on a deke
Hammond beat five-hole
Werek stopped trying to out wait the goaltender

Scoring chances (8): Paul (x2), O’Brien (x2), Chlapik, White (pp), DiDomenico (pp), Murray (pp)

The Roster
DiDomenico’s return resulted in Dunn being loaned to Brampton (he was subsequently recalled); oddly both Gagne and Lajoie were scratched (the former had an assist the previous game), with Erkamps replacing the latter.

The Lines

Special Teams
Paul-O’Brien-Rodewald/White-DiDomenico (scored)
Perron-Kelly-White/Murray-Jaros (scored)
Penalty Kill*
Kelly-Randell, McCormick-O’Brien, Paul-White
Englund-Burgdoerfer, Englund-Jaros, Sieloff-Burgdoerfer, Murray-Sieloff; McCormick-Perron-O’Brien/Jaros (scored on)
* I changed up how I list this to keep the PK lists from reaching absurd proportions–I’ve listed D and F combinations since those are the focus for the coaches

Why Tyler Randell was on the powerplay is beyond me (clearly the idea was to have someone go to the front of the net, but maybe that shouldn’t be someone with no points on the year). Changing the previous combinations made sense (and, to a degree, were forced by DiDomenico’s return), but there were still some odd Kleinendorstisms within them. Putting Chlapik back on the PP (after being off it for two games) meant the second unit had good zone entries, but miscues from Murray and Randell made them pretty ineffective once they were in the zone. As for the PK, it was standard combos–the group scored on is a pretty unique configuration presumably made to help with the 6-on-4 scenario.

Notable Plays
Not many this game: in the second Perron was hit hard into the end-boards (side-on) and got up slowly, but seemed okay afterwards–he later missed the net on a golden opportunity in the slot (third).

Player Notes
Rather than noting every player as I have previously, I’ll just list those who I think were above or below their standard game play or were in some other way notable.
Jaros: while he played well overall (two assists, his first points since October), he did have some struggles on the powerplay, particularly in the third period
Paul: his first goal of the season after being goalless in fifteen games; benefited from playing with DiDomenico
DiDomenico: looked just as good as he did when he was with the team in early October; smart plays with the puck which took the pressure off his linemates
McCormick: mercifully pulled from the first line after 11 straight games; I’d mentioned not long ago that he and Chlapik had shown chemistry in their one previous game together (back on October 28th against Manitoba) and that was apparent again
Chlapik: freed from the fourth-line doghouse had a strong game which might have been more successful if the second-unit PP made more sense
Werek: still buried on the fourth-line with no PP-time
Reinhart: dumped from the second-line after five-games there and was completely invisible

The BSens only had seven shots through the first two periods so in many ways you could say the better team won, but Belleville certainly could have and probably should have won the game having the lead so late in the third. This is not the first game where such a lead has been blown (they did so against Providence on October 21st), albeit just twice in a season isn’t a trend. The lineup changes are a positive start for the team, but both Gagne and Lajoie should be playing and Kleinendorst needs to give up on Randell–I’m not expecting it, however.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)