The Skinny: A battle of two Canadian-based teams (both AHL and parent club), in a rematch of Friday’s game, which the Moose took, 2-1. Belleville began the night with an 0-2-0 record, while the Moose were 1-2-0 after two losses in Iowa and last night’s win.
Belleville Goal: Filip Chlapik crossed the Moose blueline on the left side and fed a centreing pass across to Rudolf Balcers, who one-timed it past a stunned Ken Appleby to make it 1-0 Belleville in the early going. Sami Niku was partly to blame, as he gave Balcers a lot of space to get the shot off.
Manitoba Goal: On the powerplay, Sami Niku fed a quick touch pass across the line to Mason Appleton, who walked in to the top of the right circle and fired a hard pass to C.J Suess who deflected it past Filip Gustavsson to tie the game.
Belleville Goal: Julius Bergman made a head’s up play, spotting former Canadian World Junior forward, Drake Batherson in the slot with a slap pass, and Batherson tipped the puck past Appleby to give Belleville a 2-1 lead late in the first.
Belleville Goal: Off the draw, Filip Chlapik got behind the defence and alone with Ken Appleby, and after a quick fake, beat Appleby low blocker to give Belleville a 3-1 lead.
Belleville Goal: At the tail end of a double-minor the goaltender Appleby took for high sticking, Rudolf Balcers was at it again, setting up in his office in the slot, and taking a quick feed which he promptly one-timed low glove to give Belleville a commanding 4-1 lead.
Belleville Goal: Off a defensive breakdown where Sami Niku was stripped of the puck, two Belleville forwards came in on Appleby all alone, and Drake Batherson finished the play, roofing a backhand blocker side
Manitoba Goal: Off a broken play, Skyler McKenzie poked the puck through the slot to Nic Kerdiles, who dove and tipped the puck through another defender to C.J Suess, and he went backhand-forehand and beat Gustavsson blocker side to make it 5-2.
Belleville Goal: Off a powerplay, left pointman Jordan Murray walked in to the top of the circle and wired a high shot short side on Appleby to give Belleville a commanding, 6-2 lead.
#20 C.J Suess – the rookie forward was the biggest factor in tonight’s game for the Moose, scoring two goals, both from the top of the crease. A hard working player who is both responsible and versatile (plays centre and wing), Suess has moved up the Moose lineup very quickly – after finishing his college season last spring, he played a handful of games on the Moose 4th line; he’s already up to 2nd line minutes, along with 1st unit powerplay time.
#27 Mason Appleton – last season’s AHL rookie of the year, Appleton was easily the most dynamic player on the ice for the home club, setting up the first Suess goal, and ending the night with 7 shots on goal. He continues to excel offensively, due in large part to his well-balanced skills, where he is equally adept at passing and shooting.
#23 Michael Spacek – in his second year with the club, Spacek has taken on a bigger role due to the departures of last season’s top three centres – Jack Roslovic, Mike Sgarbossa, and Patrice Cormier. He’s centreing the first line with Seth Griffith and Mason Appleton, and playing the Laine spot on the Moose top powerplay unit. Spacek was excellent on the powerplay last season leading the team with 10 pp goals, almost all of which were on a one-timer from the top of the left circle/ringette line; his patented one-timer was a bit off tonight, but he was moving the puck effectively through the seem.
#43 Skyler McKenzie – had one good rush early in the game where he darted up the right side and got a dangerous shot on goal. A lack of powerplay time, and an unproductive line left him with an otherwise quiet night.
#3 Tucker Poolman – while he and his linemate were at fault for a number of goals tonight, individually, he made some excellent defensive plays, stopping zone entries, and also keeping the puck in at the opposing blueline on a few difficult plays. While he doesn’t have as high a ceiling as a player like Samik Niku, he has good hockey sense, and does the little things well.
#8 Sami Niku – it was a forgettable night for last season’s AHL defenceman of the year. Though he had a secondary assist on the Suess powerplay goal, he was at fault on the first and fourth Belleville goals, and didn’t create as much offence tonight as he did on most nights last season. All that said, it’s just one game.
Note: Moose #1 goaltender Eric Comrie was tonight’s back-up, while 6’8 defender Logan Stanley hasn’t played since October 5 against Iowa (lower-body injury)
F: #7 Drake Batherson #38 Rudolfs Balcers #41 Filip Chlapik
AHL rookie Drake Batherson, and sophomores Filip Chlapik and Rudolphs Balcers were the unquestioned stars of tonight’s game. Combining for 5 goals and 10 points, they torched the Moose defensively for every mistake. Chlapik was the set-up man on many of those plays, while Balcers is a dangerous finisher, with a quick, accurate release on his snap-shot one-timer. Batherson is a well-rounded player who can create and finish. Don’t be too surprised if all three of these players see a bit of time with the Senators as the year goes on.
G: #30 Filip Gustavsson
One of the pieces which Ottawa received in last spring’s deadline deal for Derick Brassard, Gustavsson was solid tonight, albeit in limited action. Many of the 35 shots he faced were from the outside, but he did make a few great stops on Mason Appleton, and held the Moose at bay on a strong first period powerplay when they were looking to tie the game at 2.
Next Game Action
Friday, October 19 at Bell-MTS Place versus the San Antonio Rampage, the AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues.