Belleville 1, Manitoba 2

The BSens played a better and more entertaining game against the Moose, despite having less talent to put on the ice, but are still struggling offensively to start the season (some of that I believe is coaching–see below). I will happily eat some crow by saying Mike McKenna has been excellent thus far (nothing like Danny Taylor last season). One final note: the BSens broadcaster’s persistent miscalls of players is driving me bananas–just a warning for those listening to the audio, he will make mistakes and doesn’t always correct them–trust your eyes not your ears. The breakdown:

Belleville 1, Manitoba 2
Shots: 31/30
PP: 0-6
PK: 3-4
Goaltender: McKenna (28-30)
Goal: Balcers (Batherson, Chlapik)

Context
The Moose were coming off back-to-back losses to Iowa, losing 4-1 and 8-1 respectively. Goaltender Eric Comrie played the bulk of the minutes in both games and would start against the BSens where, despite a lot of rubber, he didn’t face that many quality scoring chances.

Lines
The team’s lineup changed considerably after the loss against Utica, with Nick Paul and Christian Jaros recalled to Ottawa, and Marcus Hogberg, Logan Brown, and Andrew Sturtz injured. This resulted in the recall of Filip GustavssonRyan ScarfoFrancois Beauchemin, and Daniel Ciampini from Brampton (who was signed to an AHL-contract). Line changes noted in italics:
Balcers-Chlapik-Batherson
Tambellini-Balisy-Gagne (was the third line)
Leier-LaBate-Rodewald (was the fourth line)
Ciampini-Scarfo

Wolanin-Burgdoerfer
Percy-Murray
Sieloff-Bergman-Englund

Essentially two-thirds of the second-line were gone, so Batherson was moved up, Rodewald moved down, and the third-line became the second. Mann elected to go with seven defenseman, which makes sense since both Murray and Englund are very weak in different areas.

Special Teams
The powerplay continued to struggle and just like in the Utica game, Mann didn’t make any tweaks to it during the game (unlike the PK where there was some rotating). These are, however, radically different lines (those in italics are new to the line).
Balcers-Chlapik-Leier/Wolanin-Batherson
Gagne-Balisy-Tambellini/Percy-Murray (basically was the first unit)

Balcers moves from the point up to forward, Batherson slides back, and Chlapik is the only part of the first unit from Utica that remains (everyone except Leier was on the second unit previously). Balisy also migrates from the blueline to forward, but four of the five players were part of the first unit in Utica (with Murray added). I have no idea why Bergman, with three seasons as a powerplay quarterback in San Jose’s affiliate, is not being given the opportunity. Mann clearly isn’t a fan of his because he doesn’t play much, but with a proven track record and a flailing PP, why not put him there? As for the general performance: obviously the team didn’t score, but it did look a little better than in the previous game.

As for the PK, there were more rotations so we can take a look at the units:
Forward pairings: LaBate-Rodewald, Chlapik-Balisy, Balisy-Rodewald, Chlapik-LaBate, Tambellini-Scarfo, Ciampini-Chlapik
Defense pairings: Englund-Burgdoerfer, Sieloff-Bergman, Sieloff-Burgdoerfer, Englund-Percy, Englund-Bergman, Percy-Murray

If you’re looking at that and thinking, wait, Murray and Ciampini were killing a penalty? And at the same time? Yes, and that’s the shift that resulted in the PP-goal against. It seemed like, along with Bergman, Mann is using the PK to shovel ice time to benchwarmers outside the opening and closing rotations, which is a very strange approach.

Coaching Decisions
-The Rodewald-on-the-first-line experiment (which was right out of the Kurt Kleinendorst’s playbook) was dropped he was much more effective playing away from top-checkers on the third line
Leier on the top-PP unit is bizarre; he had a poor game against the Moose (a pair of key turnovers in the first, one of which lead to a goal against) and he did not gel very well with his PP partners; he’s not a good enough player to face top checkers
-The bizarre decision to slot Murray with Percy on the second D-pairing when Bergman is available (and a righthand shot)
-Correctly limiting Scarfo‘s TOI (his only notable play in the entire game was a brutal unforced turnover in the second)

Corsi etc still hasn’t been posted–I will add that information as soon as it becomes available.

Other Notes
-The first half of the game Wolanin was persistently attempting tough passes into traffic that weren’t working; he adjusted later in the game
Englund still can’t make a simple, five-foot pass
Tambellini hit the crossbar in the second–had he scored it’s a very different game
Percy had good moments in the game, but his two most notable were a suicide pass to Chlapik that got him leveled and the turnover that lead to the game winning goal against

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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1 Comment

  1. […] Belleville 1, Manitoba 2 […]


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