Belleville 2, Wilkes-Barre 6

Last week the BSens went into Wilkes-Barre and got crushed 6-0 (my discussion of that game is here), so with a much improved roster what did we get? Another lopsided loss, albeit the score is a little unfair to the team. Still, it’s a wake-up call for anyone who thought their win against the Amerks was a sign that things were changing for the team. Before the observations, the basics (the boxscore):
Shots: 21-32
PP: 1-3
PK: 3-4 (one of these was the last eight seconds of the third period)
Goaltender: Marcus Hogberg got the start, but was pulled after three goals (he made two key saves)–Danny Taylor came in as relief (four key saves; it’s the first time he’s played since a December 20th loss to Rochester). Both goalies let in weak goals, but I wouldn’t blame either for the loss per se. Chris Driedger was scratched and Andrew Hammond (coming off a win over Rochester) was on recall with Colorado.

The Goals
1. Wilkes-Barre – Hogberg beat short-side on a rush (not a great goal)
2. White bangs in McCormick’s cross-crease pass
3. Wilkes-Barre – Hogberg beat top-shelf on a clear shot (might have gone off Lajoie’s stick, but even so the shot was a long way out)
4. Wilkes-Barre – Hogberg beat high far side from the slot (this was a A+ scoring opportunity, so no fault here)
5. PP White one-times a nice feed from Chlapik
6. Wilkes-Barre – DiDomenico just doesn’t bother taking the man who beats Taylor swinging from one side of the rink to the other
7. Wilkes-Barre PP – awful goal from the the goal line (Taylor not against his post)
8. Wilkes-Barre – empty net goal

Scoring chances (9): White (x2, pp), Rodewald (x2), Chlapik (x2), Blunden, DiDomenico, McCormick

The Roster
Gagne (!) and Flanagan were out of the lineup, replaced by Chlapik and White; Erkamps was out in favour of Harpur. Sexton remains out with injury (he hasn’t played since November 4th), as is Sieloff (last played December 30th); Chabot remains in the NHL (presumably permanently); Ciampini, Dunn, and Donaghey are in the ECHL, while Randell thankfully remains a healthy scratch.

The Lines

As nice as it was for Reinhart to score in his last game, he shouldn’t be in the top-six; nor should McCormick or O’Brien (who, thanks to White, both broke pointless streaks–four and five games respectively); why Werek or Chlapik were on the third line is beyond me as both were excellent. The defense could be better, but the pairings aren’t terrible.

Special Teams
Werek-Chlapik-White/Harpur-DiDomenico (scored)
Penalty Kill
O’Brien-White, Kelly-Blunden (scored on), Perron-White, Perron-O’Brien, McCormick-O’Brien
Harpur-Burgdoerfer (scored on), Englund-Jaros

I’m not a fan of the second unit–Blunden’s footspeed issues should keep him off all special teams, while Reinhart’s production on the PP has been terrible (eg). With Gagne off the roster there aren’t a lot of other options, but they exist.

Notable Plays
White with a great blueline save on the PP (first); Perron took a crosscheck to the back of the head (first); Harpur threw a huge hit in the offensive zone (second); DiDomenico made a blind pass to the wrong team which resulted in him taking a penalty (third); Murray took a dumb neutral zone penalty that wound up as a goal against (third).

Players Notes
Hogberg: he’s good enough that he shouldn’t be giving up goals on clean shots, but the plus side is the talent is there–it’s about technique and consistency (a guy this big should not be getting beat high this often)
DiDomenico: his worst game of the season–a lot of mistakes, particularly in the third period with a poor defensive effort
Chlapik: wish he played more as he does so many things well
White: as a top-prospect he’s been underwhelming in his rookie season (he broke a five-game pointless streak tonight), but some of that is related to how he’s been used–tonight he showed what he can do if he’s properly set-up
Kelly: before we sing “Oh Canada” let’s bow our heads over his eleven game pointless streak
Paul: for a guy with good hands it’s amazing how little he accomplishes with his skills
Rodewald: nice player, but I have to wonder if the Sens are already regretting giving him that ELC–just like last season, after an early hot streak he has gone ice cold (17-1-2-3)–regressing to the mean
Blunden: I mentioned his skating and it’s no coincidence that despite a lot of ice time he’s pointless in his last six games
Perron: his fourth game without a point, but I’m not sure what he’s supposed to do playing on the fourth line with spot duty on the PK (and currently off the PP)

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)


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