Belleville 4, Binghamton 3 (SO), Belleville 3, Manitoba 7

I’m a bit late with the Binghamton recap as I’ve been both busy and sick, but without further ado let’s delve into Wednesday’s game starting with the basics (the boxscore):
Shots: 35-35
PP: 0-1
PK: 2-3
Goaltender: Chris Driedger with just his fourth start of the season (he made four key saves); Danny Taylor sat as the backup as Andrew Hammond remained a bit under the weather; Marcus Hogberg remains in Brampton

The Opposition
One of the only teams with a worse record than the BSens (8-13-3 coming in), this was the kind of opponent to try and get things back on track with.

The Goals
1. Binghamton – Murray with a terrible play in front of the net giving up the puck right in front to have it banged in
2. Binghamton PP – Burgdoerfer own-goals with a puck bouncing behind Driedger (this off McCormick’s failure to clear the puck; this was also off a really dumb, selfish penalty from Blunden)
3. Binghamton – score on a wrap-around (it bounces in off O’Brien’s skate)
4. Chlapik deflects in Murray’s shot from the point (looked like Blunden tipped it too, but he wasn’t given an assist)
5. Gagne steals the puck and squeezes it between the arm and the chest of the goaltender
6. Harpur with a wrister through a crowd
Shootout
White scores five-hole
Gagne stopped going low far side
Two of Binghamton’s attempts missed the net and Driedger stopped the other going five-hole

Scoring chances (11): Chlapik (x4, pp), Gagne (x2), Harpur, Rodewald, Burgdoerfer, Lajoie, O’Brien

The Roster
Mike Blunden returned after missing 20 games with a broken hand; Paul was recalled to the NHL (I guess his one goal was attractive?); Tyler Randell was either scratched or ill (getting accurate injury reports out of Belleville has not been easy); Ethan Werek was reported as a scratch the previous game, but I learned on Friday that he’s actually injured (huzzah for reporting); Patrick Sieloff, who missed most of the prior game after throwing a big hit, remained out of the lineup; Daniel Ciampini and Cody Donaghey are in Brampton, with Thomas Chabot still in the NHL.

The Lines
McCormick-O’Brien-Gagne
Reinhart-Kelly-DiDomenico
Perron-White-Rodewald
Chlapik-Blunden
Harpur-Burgdoerfer
Englund-Jaros
Lajoie-Murray
Erkamps

The first line that was used through the bulk of November was reconstituted (if you’re wondering, the team was 5-4-1 when they played together up to this point); the weird second line is a first and didn’t work at all; this was the first time Perron and Rodewald have played together since a productive few games in October (that chemistry wasn’t particularly in evidence); the Chlapik-Blunden pairing wasn’t played like a fourth line (they had varying left wingers, but mostly Perron). These lines were scrambled to an extant in the second period. As for the D-pairings, this was the first game of the season without Sieloff, but none of the pairings were new. Jaros hurt his hand in a fight in the first period, so the team spent most of the game with six D.

Special Teams
Powerplay
Perron-Chlapik-White/Murray-DiDomenico
Gagne-Reinhart-O’Brien/Harpur-Lajoie
4-on-4
O’Brien-Rodewald/Englund-Burgdoerfer
Chlapik-Blunden/Lajoie-Erkamps
McCormick-Perron/Lajoie-Erkamps
Penalty Kill
Kelly-Blunden, O’Brien-White, Kelly-White, O’Brien-Rodewald, McCormick-O’Brien (scored on)
Harpur-Burgdoerfer, Englund-Harpur, Murray-Burgdoerfer, Englund-Burgdoerfer (scored on)

The only notable thing about the powerplay was a brutal turnover by Murray (I continue to believe he doesn’t belong on the PP); nothing very different about the PK (whose struggles continue).

Notable Plays
Reinhart was hauled down on a breakaway with no call (first); Chlapik with a brutal turnover, but Binghamton missed the net on the breakaway (first); Kelly missed the net on a breakaway (nice pass by DiDomenico) (first); Driedger gave the puck away and it nearly wound up in his net (first); a big hit resulted in Jaros getting into the fight where he hurt his hand (first); Murray’s brutal turnover on the PP results in a breakaway with a nice save by Driedger (second); Harpur throws a suicide pass to Chlapik who gets steamrolled–Harpur then fought the guy who hit him as a brawl broke out and afterwards Chlapik gave him a fist-bump in the box (second); Lajoie with a great rush that gets forced into a bad angled backhand (second); White misses the net from right in front (third); Harpur misses the net off a pass from Chlapik (OT)

As this is a double post, we’ll do player notes at the end.

Belleville 3, Manitoba 7

The BSens beat the very talented Moose both times they played in October, but last night’s game was much more what you’d expect given the disparity. Before I get into specific comments, here are the basics (the boxscore):
Shots: 27-33
PP: 1-4
PK: 2-4
Goaltender: Andrew Hammond returned to the fold and despite the score played pretty well (he made five key saves); the hapless Danny Taylor backed-up, while Driedger was scratched; Hogberg lost in Brampton in what was a humdrum game for him (giving up three goals on twenty shots).

The Opposition
The Moose were 18-5-3 coming into the game and, other than the second period, completely dominated the BSens (holding them to just five shots in the third).

The Goals
1. Gagne picks up a drop pass on a bad Moose change and scores short side
2. Manitoba – tip-in (Gagne late on the back check)
3. Manitoba – just after the PP expired a nice tip-in
4. Manitoba PP – bounce off the boards Harpur can’t take the man or the stick
5. PP Chlapik great shot upstairs on a feed from below the goal line from DiDomenico
6. McCormick deflection (right off the faceoff from the previous goal)
7. Manitoba – Dunn weak on the backcheck as the rebound is banged in
8. Manitoba PP – score five hole
9. Manitoba – tip in front
10. Manitoba – DiDomenico turns it over on a clear 2-on-1 with a pass and goal

Scoring chances (7): McCormick (x3), Gagne, Chlapik (pp), Dunn, Randell

The Roster
Reinhart was out with an injury, so Randell returned to the lineup (sigh); Dunn also played as the team dressed six defensemen (Jaros missing the game with the hand injury).

The Lines
McCormick-O’Brien-Gagne
Rodewald-Chlapik-White
DiDomenico-Kelly-Blunden
Dunn-Perron-Randell
Harpur-Burgdoerfer
Englund-Lajoie
Murray-Erkamps

I’m not sure when the Kelly experiment will end–he’s now pointless in eight games despite playing with talented linemates. I also don’t know why the team is playing Dunn rather than recalling Ciampini for fourth-line duty (and don’t get me started on Randell).

Special Teams
Powerplay
Perron-Chlapik-White/Lajoie-DiDomenico
Perron-Chlapik-White/Murray-DiDomenico (scored)
McCormick-Gagne-Rodewald/Harpur-O’Brien
Penalty Kill
Kelly-Blunden (scored on), McCormick-O’Brien, Kelly-White, Perron-Randell, McCormick-Randell, Kelly-Randell (scored on), Dunn-Randell
Harpur-Burgdoerfer (scored on), Englund-Erkamps, Englund-Harpur (scored on), Lajoie-Murray

Lajoie was pulled from the PP unit after a turnover early in the second (he wasn’t having the best game, but I would have preferred they let him play through it). Randell on the PK continues to be one of those head-scratchers (the combo with Kelly wasn’t a planned line, but rather due to a partial line change). Dunn and Lajoie’s appearance on the PK was due to it being the last 30 seconds of a 7-3 game.

Notable Plays
Perron turned it over and Manitoba hit the post (first); Gagne made a fantastic pass to McCormick for a scoring chance (first); Harpur got turned into a pylon (second); Erkamps gets boarded (second), but stayed in the game; Chlapik made set-up Randell for a glorious chance, but it’s Randell so no result (second); Gagne was hit away from the puck (looked like an elbow) and was hurt, but stayed in the game (second); Kelly misses an open net (second).

Player Notes
Jaros: a great example of how pointless fighting is for useful players–hurts his hand and has missed almost two full games
Burgdoerfer: broke a 10-game pointless streak and actually cut down on the turnovers
Murray: while he broke a 7-game pointless streak, he’s still a huge drag on the PP
Lajoie: struggled pretty badly against the Moose, but still does things that most of the other blueliners can’t when it comes to moving the puck
Blunden: I’m no the biggest fan of the veteran–he’s slow and takes dumb penalties–but was decent enough in both games
Chlapik: now as 3 goals in his last 4 games and is being played with complimentary players
DiDomenico: what sin did this guy commit to have Chris Kelly as his center? A complete waste of a dynamic offensive player
Gagne: has three points in his last two games which was when the awful first line was reconstituted–how involved have McCormick-O’Brien been in his production? Just once, his lone assist. His goals were either an individual effort (vs Binghamton) or off a line change (Manitoba)
Kelly: no points in all eight AHL games–time to say goodbye!
McCormick: had his first goal against a goalie since November 8th–he’s way off his usual production, so could this be a sign of a return to form?
Perron: after being stuck with Kelly as his center for 7 games gets rewarded with…Dunn and Randell? Yikes
Randell: was awful in his return to the lineup vs Manitoba
Reinhart: is ice cold (pointless in six) prior to missing last night’s game
Rodewald: I mentioned in my November review that he was due to regress and that’s the case as he has no points in December (0-5)
White: was finally freed from Kelly prison and responded with assists in both games

Both games were pretty entertaining to watch–the comeback against Binghamton was fun and watching talented Manitoba in particular (interesting to see how they use Buddy Robinson–while the BSens put him in a checking role, the Moose play him as an offensive player). While the lines are still a bit of a mess, I do like that Kleinendorst is finally playing talented players as the first unit PP–it hasn’t been pretty yet, but is far more coherent than the bumbling group of checkers that tanked results through most of November.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

 

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