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Game Day Build-Up: B-Sens return home for double-dip with T-Birds

October 21, 2022

Oct.21/22 vs Springfield Thunderbirds

Presented by Carpenters Union Local 397

The Set-Up:

The Belleville Sens perfect start to the season may have ended on Wednesday after a 4-3 overtime loss in Rochester, but the bonus point earned at Blue Cross Arena keeps the Sens at the top of the AHL North Division Standings, heading into a weekend double header at home against the Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis Blues). Despite winning an Eastern Conference title and losing in the Calder Cup final to Chicago last season, the T-Birds have struggled to take flight in 2022-23. Springfield is still looking for their first win of the campaign, after an 0-3 start, and haven’t scored since late in the second period against Providence, last weekend.

Previous History:

The B-Sens and T-Birds played a tight four-game series in 2021-22, with the Senators skating to a 1-2-1-0 record. The teams split the first two games of last year’s season series at CAA Arena in early January, with Springfield winning 4-3 and Belleville winning 7-5, but the Thunderbirds swept their two home games in April, winning 4-3 in overtime and 3-2 at MassMutual Center. Lifetime against Springfield, Belleville is 1-5-1-0, with last year’s home win being their only victory over their Massachusetts-based opponents to this point. The Senators have never won in Springfield in their four games played there.

Roster Notes:

There’s some mixed news for the Senators, in terms of lineup this evening. The Sens will get one big addition tonight, as forward Scott Sabourin returns from the birth of his daughter Leni, earlier this week. The bad news is, forward Phil Daoust (who has four points over Belleville’s first three games played) was injured in Rochester on Wednesday and is being evaluated by team medical staff today. The only other change is in goal, where Antoine Bibeau will start and be backed up by Kevin Mandolese. Defenders Xavier Bernard and Zach Massicotte are healthy scratches, while goaltender Mads Sogaard skated today and is still listed as day-to-day and forward Ridly Greig is on the mend and could play in Laval this coming Wednesday. Defenceman Jonathan Aspirot likely won’t play until December, as he rehabs from off-season shoulder surgery.

Who to Watch:

Senators forward Jayce Hawryluk will take on his former team tonight. The 26-year-old from Yorkton, Saskatchewan, was originally drafted by the Florida Panthers (2nd round in 2014) and played parts of four seasons in Springfield, before moving to Vancouver, then to Sweden for a season, before landing in Belleville. Hawryluk is operating at more than a point-per-game pace so far this season, with four points (two goals, two assists) in Belleville’s first three games.

For the T-Birds, new addition Martin Frk has yet to register a point this season, but is poised to break out. The 29-year-old veteran had 73 points (40 goals, 33 assists) in 58 games with the Ontario Reign last season and has also played in 124 career NHL games. Belleville defenders will have to beware of stepping in front of his slap shot as well, with the Czechia native holding the AHL record for hardest shot, blasting one at 109.2 miles an hour at the 2020 AHL All Star Skills Competition.

Follow the action:

You can watch tonight’s game on AHL TV, with audio coverage available via the Belleville Sens Entertainment Network. David Foot and Colin Zappia will have the call, with pregame coverage starting at 6:45 p.m.

Ticket info:

Tickets for all Belleville Sens home games are available via Ticketmaster or at the CAA Arena Box Office. Belleville Sens Season Seat Members already have tickets to all three games.

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