Belzile didn’t waste time making an impact on the Rocket
The Rocket two games last weekend against Belleville certainly did not go as they would have liked. Despite a slim 73-72 shots on goal edge for the Senators in the two meetings, Laval lost the two games in a decisive fashion.
It’s obviously not what Jean-François Houle and his team were hoping for, especially since they received a bit of help from the parent club in the return to the lineup of #22 Alex Belzile after an 8-game stint in the NHL.
He didn’t register a point but he did drop the gloves on Saturday in Belleville. He also had a positive impact on the Rocket while he was on the ice. That being said, when asked about his play on Tuesday morning, the veteran did not want to talk a lot about himself. He preferred speaking about the development of the team.
“On a personal level, I think I was okay” noted Alex Belzile. “It went well but I can give more on the ice just like the team in general.”
Despite that humility, there is no doubt that Alex Belzile was one of the Rocket’s best players for those two games. Along with Laurent Dauphin and Xavier Ouellet, he was one of the only Laval players to maintain a positive scoring chance differential at 5on5 for both games against Belleville.
What really hurt Belzile’s stat line is that both chances that were allowed while he was on the ice at 5 on 5 ended up in the Rocket net. With the quality of the Rocket goaltenders, this is not the kind of trend that will be kept up too long.
The impact of #22 was also evident when you looked at puck possession since he was the best forward of the team in the Corsi numbers for those two games. When he was on the ice at 5 on 5 during those matchups, the Rocket got 29 shot attempts while the Senators only got 8.
This means that while he was on the ice, Laval got more than the triple of Belleville’s shot attempts. It’s not the kind of statistical feat that you see too often in pro hockey and it shows that good things are ahead.
The next step is for Belzile to make the most of this edge and getting points on the board out of it. He talked about that process on Tuesday morning while explaining the differences between the play in the NHL and the AHL.
“The biggest difference is the speed at which you need to execute on the ice” explained Belzile. “In the NHL, the play goes by faster. You have the puck, you need to move it immediately. In the AHL, you have a bit more time so sometimes, you need to trust and tell yourself that you can keep the puck a bit longer than in the NHL.” Once that trust is recovered, Belzile will be able to make the most of the time that is available on the ice with the Rocket. If that happens, his possession edge might quickly show on the scoresheet, which would be a big boost for Laval.