Catching Up on Belleville’s Games (Part One)

As some of you know my father passed away December 30th, which, along with bowling me over emotionally, also threw a wrench into my schedule. I’m mostly caught up with Belleville’s games and this is the first of a two part effort to post the notes that I have before they become extremely dated. I was on a music nostalgia kick before the death of my father and Pearl Jam’s “Better Man” seems appropriate to Belleville’s coach and GM–you just can’t find a better man (apparently). With that said it’s time to hop into the time machine and turn the dial back–we’re going chronologically through these since my last game post (I’ve truncated my usual format to avoid the text wall becoming ridiculous):

Belleville 3, Laval 4 (boxscore)

Lineup
Hammond (six key saves)
DiDomenico-O’Brien-Rodewald
Werek-White-Gagne
McCormick-Reinhart-Blunden
Perron-Randell
Sieloff-Burgdoerfer
Englund-Jaros
Murray-Erkamps
Lajoie

This game seems a million years ago, but what the hell is Lajoie doing as the 7th defenseman, or Perron on the fourth line, or Randell dressing? That said, in the context of the Kleinendorst universe the forwards lines are a step in the right direction (which, alas, would not last).

Goals
1. Laval – Murray turns it over and Hammond is beat far side on a wrister at the dot
2. Laval PP – one-timer from a bad angle
3. Laval – Erkamps gets bowled over and White doesn’t take the check who bangs in the rebound
4. O’Brien off a nice feed from McCormick from behind the net
5. Laval PP – one-timer from the point
6. McCormick bangs in his own rebound
7. PP Rodewald bangs in Murray’s rebound

Rodewald broke a 9-game pointless streak with the late goal, but the surge was too little, too late, as lousy special teams (along with a bad goal) combined to let the team down.

Notable Plays
The first Laval PP goal was off a terrible penalty from McCormick; White nearly scored on a wrap-around (first); Hammond took a hilarious dive trying to draw a penalty (he failed; second); Reinhart was in some pain after a faceoff (third), but remained in the game.

 

Belleville 3, Providence 2 (OT) (boxscore)

Lineup
Hogberg (seven key saves)
DiDomenico-White-Rodewald
McCormick-O’Brien-Blunden
Perron-Reinhart-Gagne
Werek-Ciampini-Randell
Sieloff-Burgdoerfer
Englund-Jaros
Lajoie-Murray

Erkamps’ boondoggle on the third Laval goal seems to have banished him for this game, moving Lajoie up. The second line here is…I mean, why? They could have Perron playing with Werek and Gagne, but why try to win games when you can just hope to win them?

Goals
1. Blunden bangs in a pass into the slot by O’Brien
2. PP – Werek shoves in Jaros’ rebound
3. Providence – shot from the point through a screen
4. Providence – high shot from the point through a crowd
5. Burgdoerfer picks up a loose puck in front and puts it away

Hogberg’s only struggles in the game were long, high shots, as he tended to make himself small and go into the butterfly. More incidentally, Fake Don Brennan on the Belleville broadcast is painfully bad; the BSens had a really strong first period, but were on their heels most of the rest of the game; the first PP unit looked good

Notable Plays
Randell missed the net from the slot (first); Jaros hit the post (first); Murray made a bizarre defensive place that forced Jaros to do some fancy work of his own to make up for it (first); Gagne made a great pass through a defender (nothing came of it, alas; first); Sieloff blocked a shot with his head and was taken off the ice and would miss the all the games I’ve seen since (third); Werek missed the net from the slot (third)

Belleville 1, Toronto 5 (boxscore)

I saw this game after the Binghamton game that follows because AHL Live took almost five days to respond to repeated requests for the video to be posted.

Lineup
Hammond (six key saves)
DiDomenico-White-Rodewald
McCormick-O’Brien-Blunden
Perron-Paul-Gagne
Werek-Reinhart-Randell
Murray-Burgdoerfer
Englund-Jaros
Lajoie-Erkamps

The silly second line remained as did the Curse of Randell. Despite Murray’s listing in the top pair he did not get the minutes associated with that (Englund and Jaros played more).

Goals
1. Toronto PP – Randell loses his position and a cross crease pass provides an open net
2. Toronto SH – Jaros briefly stops skating on the backcheck and his man bangs in a nice pass out front
3. Toronto SH – Jaros passes to a player going off the ice, leaving a Marlie wide open to walk in and beat Hammond five-hole
4. McCormick steals the puck and passes to a wide open DiDomenico who has an empty net
5. Toronto – Hammond beat high far side
6. Toronto – O’Brien gets puck watching leaving his man wide open to bang in a rebound

This was a straightforward spanking by the talented Marlies, who ate up the team on special teams (no coincidence the area of the game most influenced by coaching–a problem that goes back to the Luke Richardson era).

Notable Plays
DiDomenico misses the net all alone in front of the net (first); Jaros made a great aerial pass to White (to no result; first); Rodewald fell awkwardly and left the game for awhile (second).

Belleville 3, Binghamton 2 (SO) (boxscore)

Lineup
Hogberg (seven key saves)
McCormick-O’Brien-Blunden
Paul-White-Rodewald
Perron-Reinhart-DiDomenico
Werek-Flanagan-Gagne
Murray-Burgdoerfer
Englund-Jaros
Lajoie-Erkamps

The first line…what can you say really? Werek and Gagne on the fourth makes no sense either, but at least mercifully Randell is gone. Erkamps, incidentally, didn’t play a shift in the third.

Goals
1. Binghamton – top shelf off a clean face-off win
2. Paul bangs in a loose puck in front (off a play begun by him stealing the puck)
3. Binghamton – floats through a crowd (possibly deflecting off a BSen D)
4. Reinhart bangs in a fantastic pass from Perron
Gagne scored the only goal in the shootout

Notable Plays
Weird sequence where too many men penalty called on Binghamton that’s eventually rescinded (second); O’Brien can’t get a shot on a 2-on-1 (second); Burgdoerfer was hurt in a collision, but stayed in the game (third).

Overall Thoughts
Hardly a perfect sequence of games, but the BSens picked up 5 of 8 points, which is decent given the circumstances. It was great for Hogberg to win both his first two starts this season, while Hammond has become human in his AHL starts. The team struggles to score and while some of that is related to talent, some of it is also coaching decisions.

Clearly I have more games to catch up on (horrible ones from what I hear), but I shall endeavour to get through them as soon as I can. For those who liked the special teams stuff I usually post, I did track it, only removing it here to avoid grinding down the process and over inflating what is already a lengthy post.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

 

 

 

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