The Belleville Senators “used the force” on Star Wars night, to come from behind late in the game and dispatch the Hartford Wolf Pack 4-2 on Saturday.
Danny Taylor put up a 30 save performance to record his first home win of the season and was named first star despite a rough start to the game, similar to Friday’s loss.
The Belleville goaltender, making his first start since December 20th, gave up a goal on just the second shot of the game, when Scott Kosmachuk beat Taylor with a long wrist shot 1:32 in.
But the Senators didn’t back down, evening the game two minutes later, when Colin White buried a saucer pass from Francis Perron on a two-on-one rush.
Taylor made a couple of much needed saves in the period as well, one early-on, after a turnover behind the Belleville net and another later in the period, stopping Eric Selleck on a long breakaway.
The score stayed tied right through to the end of the second period, with Hartford hitting a cross bar at 9:15 in, Taylor stopping a pin-balling shot and Gabriel Gagne hitting the outside of the net the other way.
The most action in the second was when Colin White hit Cole Schneider on the blind side, while on the back-check and was given a five minute major penalty and a game misconduct by Darcy Burchell, the game’s only referee.
In the third, Belleville killed off the five minute major penalty to White, thanks to a couple more huge saves by Taylor, one of which he sprawled across the crease and shut the door on a point blank shot.
At about the seven minute mark, Belleville’s Nick Paul rushed in with a long wrister, that forced Alexander Georgiev to make a toe save.
With about six minutes left in the game, Hartford looked to pull away for good, when Filip Chytil’s shot hit Taylor, but trickled across the goal line to make it 2-1.
Once more, Belleville dug deep and battled back.
Two minutes later, Jim O’Brien potted a rebound, off a Filip Chlapik shot and then captain Mike Blunden crashed the net to tap home a pass from Max McCormick, off the ensuing face off.
Olympian Chris Kelly earned his first point as a Belleville Senator with his second assist on the play.
Blunden would loft an empty netter from centre ice to seal the deal and make it 4-2.
Coach Kurt Kleinendorst told reporters his team continues to show incredible character late in games.
Taylor was asked about his game saving performance and says getting into Friday night’s game in relief helped get him back into a rhythm, but there were a number of off-ice factors to consider during a lengthy stretch without starts.
Taylor says he tried to keep his focus during the Hartford flurries around the net.
And Kleinendorst agreed that Taylor was a difference-maker for his club, but the entire group helped their goaltender out, when he needed it.
Belleville finishes the four-game home stand on Wednesday with a visit from the rival Syracuse Crunch.
Game time is 7:05 at Yardmen Arena, with complete coverage on 800 CJBQ at 6:50 p.m., for Eastern Overhead Doors and Deerhaven Farm and Garden.
You can read the full box score from Saturday night by clicking here and view highlights below.