Belleville 1, Binghamton 3

I had to miss the live broadcast of this one and watch it on replay (the away feed is bugged so I was forced to endure the error-filled Belleville cast). Filip Chlapik‘s absence was notable–zone entries weren’t as smooth and puck distribution wasn’t as crisp (particularly on the PP). At any rate, further observations below!

Belleville 1, Binghamton 3
Shots: 23-19
PP: 0-2
PK: 0-1
Goaltender: Mike McKenna (16-19)
Batherson (Balcers, Paul)

Context
Binghamton entered the game having lost back-to-back games 4-0 shutouts to Syracuse and Cleveland. NHLer Cory Schneider was in net for the team on a conditioning stint, coming off the aforementioned loss to Cleveland. The two teams had already played once this season, with the BSens winning 5-2 in a special teams-filled affair where they were out shot 40-25.

Lines
With Chlapik still injured and both Paul Carey and Ben Sexton back in the lineup, changes were made. Nick Paul moved into Chlapik‘s spot, while the latter two were put between LaBate (an odd choice) with the the second line kept together (now the third) and Leier and Beauchemin joining Gagne on the fourth. To be clear:
Balcers-Paul-Batherson
Carey-LaBate-Sexton
Tambellini-Balisy-Rodewald
Gagne-Beauchemin-Leier

The third line, after a solid game against Rochester, came crashing down to earth and were largely invisible. The new second line was quite good, but LaBate is a poor fit for his wingers and it caused some issues. Paul isn’t quite Chlapik and that was particularly noticeable on the PP (overhandling the puck is his major problem).

The defense didn’t change other than Sieloff coming out (I’m assuming injury, but didn’t see anything official either way), meaning that both Bergman and Englund played more (the pair wound up being on-ice for two of the goals against). Murray, who generally makes at least one catastrophic defensive play per game, was responsible for the first goal against with a horrendous turnover.

Special Teams
The refs didn’t call much, but at least on the powerplay nothing changed–neither Carey nor Sexton, despite their track record, were added with the extra man. The BSens pp goal-scoring streak ends at four games.

The team was only shorthanded once with Troy Mann pulling something out of Kurt Kleinendorst’s playbook by having Paul and Rodewald as a PK-duo. This was a disaster last year and they were promptly scored on. The other change of note was Mann removing Beauchemin from the rotation and replacing him with Carey to play the left side with Balisy.

Other Notes
There’s not much to add that isn’t mentioned above, but I will say it was a strong debut for Carey who had the most scoring chances on the team. Despite ending the game with a middling save percentage, I thought McKenna played well and the score could have been much worse.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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