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Game Recap

Belleville Sens keep hold of third place in the North after a loss in Utica

March 9, 2024

The Belleville Senators came up against a desperate team on Friday night and weren’t able to take advantage, falling 3-2 in Utica to the Comets, who have now earned points in three straight games. Belleville did get some help from around the league, with Rochester and Toronto both losing, so the Sens hang on to the third spot in the American Hockey League’s North Division.

Belleville broke the ice at 14:31 on the power play, when a high rebound bounced to Zack Ostapchuk and he found Josh Currie alone at the other side of the crease. Leevi Merilainen stopped all six shots he faced in the period.

Utica would counter a little over five minutes into the second, off a deflection from their captain Ryan Schmelzer, to tie the game 1-1. But, about five minutes later, Egor Sokolov and Ostapchuk got in on a two-on-one and Sokolov was able to slip the puck past Isaac Poulter to put the Sens ahead again. Before the offensive rush, Sens defender Nikolas Matinpalo made an outstanding play in his end, warding off a Comets two-on-one, with a poke check followed by a blocked shot.

A pair of consecutive penalties late in the game would end up costing the Senators, with Chase Stillman and Nolan Foote each scoring on Comets power plays to give Utica the 3-2 win. The two teams will meet again in Belleville this coming Wednesday (March 13), as the wrap up their eight-game season series, which the Senators lead 4-3-0-0.

Fast Facts:

  • #4 Jacob Larsson had an assist, after registering four shots on goal in Toronto on Wednesday.
  • #10 Zack Ostapchuk recorded a pair of assists for his fourth multi-point game of the season and of his rookie AHL career. He also has points in back-to-back games after netting a goal on Wednesday in Toronto.
  • #13 Egor Sokolov picked up a goal with four shots on net. He has goals in back-to-back games after also scoring Wednesday in Toronto.
  • #18 Josh Currie extended his point streak to three games (one goal, two assists).
  • #23 Cole Reinhardt recorded his 11th assist of the season.
  • #35 Leevi Merilainen stopped 28/35 shots.
  • The Senators were 1/4 on the power play and 4/6 on the View Tech Window and Door Penalty Kill.


Sound Bytes:

Belleville Sens Head Coach Dave Bell on his feelings after the loss:

“It stinks. At this time of the year, playing a team that’s chasing you, you’ve got to get that point and hopefully two. There’s no consolation prize, but there were great efforts by some guys and I thought Leevi was really, really good, But, we lost and at this time of year you’ve got to get points.”

Belleville Sens Head Coach Dave Bell on the difference in the game:

“Taking penalties. Killing six penalties is tough and conscutive penalties really wears down your killers. With the lineup we had, there weren’t a lot of penalty killers, so it really taxed the four guys we used up front and that caught up to them in the end. It just gets things out of sync with the guys who don’t kill, so six penalties is too many.”

Belleville Sens Head Coach Dave Bell on Zack Ostapchuk’s two-point game and his need to be an impact player with a depleted roster:

“I think that’s what he’s done all year. The bigger the game, he’s rose to the occasion and I thought tonight at moments, he took the game over. Even at the end of the game when we were looking for goals, he was demonstrative and took pucks into their zone. He’s a special player.”

Media Availabilities:

Up Next:

  • Wednesday March 13, 2024 vs Utica Comets (New Jersey Devils) – 7:00 p.m. (Winning Wednesday)
  • Friday March 15, 2024 @ Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay Lightning) – 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday March 16, 2024 vs Bridgeport Islanders (New York Islanders) – 7:00 p.m. (Road to the AHL Night)

Ticket Info:

Tickets for all Belleville Sens home games for the remainder of the 2023-24 season are now on sale online, via Ticketmaster or the Belleville Sens Ticket Hub, by visiting the Belleville Sens Box Office at the Quinte Sports & Wellness Centre, or by emailing Box Office hours are available by clicking here.

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